French head in force for Trophee Hassan II

Alex Levy, Raphael Jacquelin, Romain Wattel and Gregory Havret will start

Wattel, Levy, Jacquelin and Havret
Wattel, Levy, Jacquelin and Havret
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A strong French entry at the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat includes Alex Levy, Gregory Havret, Romain Wattel and Raphael Jacquelin.

There are a couple of changes for this year’s Trophee Hassan II. Firstly, it’s been moved in the schedule from March to May. Secondly, it’s being held over a different course. The event returns to the layout at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam – a course that hosted the tournament back in 2010 when Welshman Rhys Davies was victorious.

Although this tournament was first contested back in 1971, this will only be the seventh season it has featured on the European Tour schedule. Rhys Davies of Wales won in 2010, then David Horsey, Michael Hoey and Marcel Siem before Alejandro Canizares took the victory in 2014.

Last season, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay bounced back from a triple bogey six to win by a single shot from Romain Wattel of France. Ramsay took five shots to get down from off the green on the par-3 8th, but was able to put the setback behind him. He birdied three holes consecutively from the 12th then kept things steady on the last four to post a clubhouse total of 10-under-par that wasn’t matched.

Ramsay isn’t defending the title this week but some notable players are on the start sheet. Amongst them a selection of the top French players on the European circuit. Alex Levy makes a start, so too do Julien Quesne, Raphael Jacquelin, Gregory Bourdy, Romain Wattel and Gregory Havret.

Alex Levy swing sequence:

Before it became a fixture on the European circuit, the event was won by some notable players, including – Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els. This is Morocco’s longest running sports event.

Venue: Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco Date: May 5-8 Course stats: par 72, 7,487 yards Purse: €1,500,000 Defending Champion: Richie Ramsay (-10)

TV Coverage: Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am Friday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30pm Sunday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 2.30pm

Read the betsafe guide to strategic golf betting written by Fergus Bisset

Player watch: As mentioned above, the French players are out in force at this event, which of them might take the title?

Alexander Levy – The 25-year-old is already twice a winner on the European Tour and he has shown good recent form on the circuit. He was second in Perth earlier this year and was tied fourth in the Shenzhen International two weeks ago.

Romain Wattel – After two solid weeks in China, Wattel returns to a tournament where he should have good memories. He was second in this event last year.

Gregory Bourdy – The experienced Bourdy has been a winner on the European Tour on four occasions. He’s been playing steadily in recent weeks without any top-level finishes. He might have done better at Valderrama but for a third round 81, he still finished in a tie for 19th.

Key hole: 9th.  A great par-3 of 188 yards where the ball must carry all the way to the green over water. Anything drifting too far left or right will also end up wet. This one will get the pulse racing.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?