Alejandro Canizares broke a victory drought stretching eight years and became the fourth Spaniard to win on this year’s European Tour. Here are 5 Things you need to know from the Trophee Hassan II:
• • •
1. MAKING IT LOOK EASY: Canizares seemed to be playing in another flight from the rest of the field for most of the tournament. He took the lead with an opening 10-under 62 – the lowest round of his career – and never really looked back.
The Spaniard took a 6-shot lead into the final round as he chased his first victory since the 2006 Russian Open. He sealed it with a closing 2-under 70 to finish 19 under for the tournament, five shots ahead of 2011 GB&I Walker Cup player Andy Sullivan.
The Spaniard won €250,000 and receives a two-year European Tour exemption.
Canizares hasn’t lived up to expectations since graduating from Arizona State. He won the 2003 NCAA Championship and big things were expected when he turned pro in 2006. He seemed on course to live up to those expectations with his Russian victory. Then came the drought.
Canizares went 199 tournaments between victories, although he did have four seconds in that spell.
He arrived in Morocco in form. He has not missed a cut since last September, and has posted four top-10 finishes in that time.
Maybe this win will spur him on to fulfil his potential.
• • •
2. RETURNING TO FORM: Tom Lewis posted his best finish since last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but only his third top 10 since winning the 2011 Portugal Masters. The Englishman posted a closing 65 to finish eighth. It’s a welcome return to form for the once promising amateur who has lost his way since turning professional.
Lewis was predicted to have a big career after winning in Portugal. Yet in 2012 he only made nine of 26 cuts and only kept his card because the Portugal win gave him a two-year exemption. Last year he only secured his card at the last minute, thanks to a third-place finish in the lucrative Alfred Dunhill Links Championship which netted him €199,154.
• • •
3. LATE DEBUT: Sweden’s Robert Karlsson made his debut in the Trophee Hassan II. It’s a sign of how far the Swede has dropped down the world order.
Karlsson has returned to the European Tour after losing his PGA Tour card last year. The 11-time European Tour winner finished 156th on the PGA Tour last year, after 158th the year before.
Karlsson didn’t hold a European Tour card last season, but has returned to his roots to try to get his career back on track.
Karlsson entered Morocco ranked No. 216 on the Official World Golf Ranking. He was No. 6 in Jan. 2009.
The two-time Ryder Cup player finished 11th in Morocco.
• • •
4. NOT LEADING BY EXAMPLE: European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley doesn’t want to spend this season as a ceremonial golfer. He wants to contend for titles so he can get a closer look at Europe’s hottest players.
He didn’t lead by example in Morocco.
The Dubliner missed the cut, posting scores of 76 and 70 to miss the weekend by one shot.
• • •
5. DECENT COMEBACK: Former U.S. Amateur champion Richie Ramsay made a decent return after being sidelined with a neck injury for the first part of this season. The two-time European Tour winner finished T-11.
The 2006 U.S. Amateur winner made his last start in November in the Turkish Airlines Open where he finished 18th. The Scotsman’s been on the disabled list since.