Stars brace for D’Anfa Open

The skies were overcast with thick clouds when the Mena Golf Tour tee party arrived in Mohammedia for the Royal Golf D’Anfa Open, the second on the tour schedule, starting on Tuesday.

With Met officials predicting intermittent rains across the Moroccan port over the next couple of days, players are bracing themselves for a ‘tough battle’ at Royal Golf Anfa Mohammedia course, located next to the Atlantic.

“The course is short and requires an accurate tee shot due to strategically located fairway bunkers if you aim to shoot low,” said Faycal Serghini, a seasoned Moroccan professional who is familiar with course conditions.

Golfers in action at the Royal Golf D’Anfa Club at Mohammedia. — Supplied photo

“When the wind blows, which is likely the case, it becomes even difficult to score on this course. If you can keep the ball in the fairway, you can make lots of birdies,” said Serghini, who posted a top-15 finish in last week’s Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Open.

“I am not sure whether the course record (a 10-under 62) would be under threat, but we definitely can expect some good scores since there are many good players on the tour.

“I have this intrinsic feeling that Moroccans will do well here. They are pretty used to playing on this layout which is reminiscent of an old-fashioned Scottish seaside course with small dunes and tumbling fairways,” he said.

Details of the origin of the course are vague, but Mohamed Dahbi Bouhlal, the manager of club, said it was originally designed by Hirigoven and Lambert, and opened in 1925 with nine holes.

Another nine holes were added in 1947. After the devastating floods of 2003, the course was re-designed with a diversity of fairways and greens, lakes and bunkers hidden between fir and eucalyptus trees.

Over the years, many international tournaments, including the Lalla Meryem Cup, a Ladies European Tour event, have been staged here, but this is the first time a Mena Golf Tour event will be played here.

“The Mena Tour has done an awesome job in creating a competitive environment for emerging players, especially, from the region. We would be more than delighted to host the event every year,” he said.

“For the last one month or so, our greenkeepers have been working hard to present the course in top condition and, I am sure, players will relish a true test of golf,” said Bouhlal, who is also head of the Morocco’s Junior Golf Development Programme.

Located on the west coast of Morocco between Casablanca and Rabat, Mohammedia was called Fedela until June 25, 1960 when the name was officially changed in honour of King Mohammed V.

It hosts the most important oil refinery of Morocco, the Samir refinery, which makes it the centre of the Moroccan petroleum industry.

With the Mena Golf Tour event coming to its shore, the golf profile of Mohammedia, known as the city of flowers, is set to blossom on the global stage.

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