Doherty upbeat ahead of title defence
Dubai - Doherty may have missed the cut, but returned home richer in experience that, he believes, will stand him in good stead for the future.
A confident Paul Doherty will return to the scene of his maiden Mena Golf Tour victory, hoping for another strong run when he headlines the field at the Royal Golf Mohammedia Open by HLO, starting on March 23 in Mohammedia on the outskirts of the Moroccan port city of Casablanca.
The Scotsman shot an impressive 13-under total to win last year's event by two shots, the success providing the springboard for his creditable third-place finish on the season-ending Order of Merit standings and earning him a spot in the 2016 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Playing in his first European Tour event, Doherty may have missed the cut, but returned home richer in experience that, he believes, will stand him in good stead for the future.
"My game is in better shape than last year. I am striking the ball better. Playing alongside some of the biggest names in golf at the Classic was a great learning curve for me and allowed me to better my course management skills," said the 31-year-old from Glasgow.
"I have great memories of Mohammedia and look forward to getting back to a golf course where I won my first major professional title. It's fun playing on the course there because it is always in excellent condition," added Doherty, who turned professional in 2006.
The defending champion will join 2015 Mena Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Thriston Lawrence of South Africa, Sweden's Per Barth and the English duo of Jake Shepherd and Scott Campbell among other winners on the tour as entries to the Royal Golf Mohammedia Open are fast picking up pace.
Also included in the field is Spain's Javier Gallegos, who won the inaugural Mena Golf Tour Qualifying School in Spain in February. Gallegos headed the list of the top 60 players from the Q-school who earned Mena Golf Tour cards for the 2016 season.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the Mena Golf Tour, said: "We're obviously very pleased with the response to the tournament, which is not only a great advertisement for the Royal Golf Mohammedia Club, but also for the tour as a whole.
"We welcome Hors Limite Organisation (HLO) into the family of our sponsors and hope our association will continue to flourish with time. We also value the support of the Moroccan Golf Federation and all the hard work done by the Royal Golf Mohammedia Club in presenting the course in top condition. As always, we can expect some exciting golf ahead.
"This year we have a very strong schedule and it's great to see many new countries come forward and support the tour, sharing our vision to promote the game in the region. These are truly exciting times for ahead, but we need more backing from the corporate world to keep the momentum going."