Being a new father is helping Alejandro Canizares at Trophée Hassan II

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Being a new father is helping Alejandro Canizares at Trophée Hassan II

Euro Tour

Being a new father is helping Alejandro Canizares at Trophée Hassan II

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That old maxim which states “daddy knows best” might just be the deciding factor in this week’s $2.8 million Trophée Hassan II in Morocco, albeit a young Scotsman might have something to say about that.

Former Arizona State player Alejandro Canizares is in contention to win the tournament for the second time thanks to the responsibilities that go with parenthood.

The 36-year-old Spaniard opened with a 6-under 67 around the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course in Rabat, Morocco to lie just one shot behind England’s Jordan Smith. Canizares, winner of the 2003 NCAA Championship, went bogey free in the opening round as he seeks to win the Trophée Hassan II for the second time following his 2014 victory.

Amazing what a new addition to the family can do.

SCORES: Trophée Hassan II leaderboard

“The last two months I had a baby, so I haven’t been able to practise much,” Canizares said. “Which sometimes helps because there’s no expectations.”

Canizares might have arrived on the European Tour with high expectations after his NCAA victory, but life in the professional ranks has been more grind than glamour. His only other win came in the 2006 Russian Open.

The resident of Malaga, Spain has never finished higher than 38th on the European money list. He did that in 2010. He was 40th in 2016 but sank to 175th last year and had to return to the Qualifying School to regain his playing rights. He did so by taking the number one card. He’s made four of six cuts this season, but a high of T26 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is his best effort so far.

No wonder he turned to a fellow European Tour pro for guidance.

“I’ve been working with Robert Rock and his partner Liam (James) and I’ve been working on my swing quite well,” Canizares said. “I like the way we are working on it and it feels easier, the things I’m doing.

“It was a great round and I’m happy the way it went and excited for the week.”

So is Jack Gallacher, son and caddie to dad Stephen. They teamed together to win this year’s Hero Indian Open and the partnership worked fine in the opening round in Morocco.

Gallacher is two shots off the pace thanks to an opening 5-under 68 that included an albatross at the par-5 8th hole. The 44-year-old Scot holed out with his 3-iron second shot, and credited Jack for clubbing him.

“He was confident on it,” Gallacher said. “It was 240, trying to land it 225 and run it up the green and it just came out at the perfect trajectory.

“I got a good bounce and thought it was going to run up to eight feet or something like that and it went in.

“First one as a pro. Just bizarre, isn’t it?”

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