Commentary: Davies, Horsey emerging as stars for Euro golf

Rhys Davies of Wales during the first round of The Omega European Masters.

Rhys Davies of Wales during the first round of The Omega European Masters.

Europe’s best might be on show this week in the Masters at Augusta, but two Europeans signaled their intent to join them soon with their exploits in Morocco.

David Horsey survived a playoff over Rhys Davies and South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl to win the Hassan Trophy in Agadir.

Horsey could have won the tournament in regulation. Holding a one-shot lead, Horsey made a double-bogey six at the 72nd hole. Defending champion Davies had a par putt to win on the last hole but missed from four feet to face Horsey in a playoff.

A hole-in-one at the second helped Horsey on his way to his second European Tour win following last year’s BMW International Open.

Davies and Horsey have the right pedigree to follow in the footsteps of Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and other leading Europeans. The Welshman and the Englishman played together on the same 2007 Walker Cup team as McIlroy.

The two players took different routes to the European Tour. Horsey came through the English Golf Union’s elite squad system. A two-time winner of the West of England Amateur Championship, Horsey was a regular for England in international golf.

Davies, meanwhile, went through the U.S. college system. However, he nearly decided not to play golf for a living. As a teenager, Davies represented Wales at both golf and cricket. He opted for the former and has never regretted the decision.

Davies first came to prominence when he won the 2003 British Boys Championship. That victory caught the attention of U.S. college golf coaches, and Davies eventually attended East Tennessee State University under the tutelage of coach Fred Warren.

The Welshman was a three time all-American at ETSU. Despite his amateur pedigree, Davies struggled at the beginning of his pro career. He spent time on the Asian Tour before getting his European Tour card.

The Welshman broke through on the European Tour last year when he outlasted Louis Oosthuizen in Morocco. That started talk of Davies as an outside chance for securing a Ryder Cup spot. Davies did not make the team, but served as European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie’s cart driver at Celtic Manor as Europe won the cup.

Montgomerie once referred to Davies as the man with the $1 million dollar putting stroke, and there is little doubt he will feature for Europe in future matches.

Horsey should feature for Europe in the biennial match in the future, too. The 25-year-old possesses a very good golf swing and enters every tournament with one aim in mind.

“I expect to win every week,” Horsey said.

Fortunately for Europe, Davies adheres to the same philosophy. That’s why the future of European golf is in good hands.

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