Lawrence leads strong field in Mena opener
Thriston Lawrence of South Africa. - Supplied photo
Casablanca - The Royal Golf Mohammedia Open by HLO, starting on Wednesday, will see players from 23 countries step up to the plate and challenge the South African prodigy for supremacy this season.
Brimming with excitement, hope and optimism, Mena Golf Tour members will be aiming to get into the groove of things early in the season when they hit the 'road to stardom' at the Moroccan port city of Mohammedia this week.
With 2015 champion Thriston Lawrence as the headline act, the Royal Golf Mohammedia Open by HLO, starting on Wednesday, will see players from 23 countries step up to the plate and challenge the South African prodigy for supremacy this season.
That certain someone could be anyone as the field is packed with potential winners and several rising young stars. Highlighting the strength of the starting line-up are 10 former winners, including the sizzling English trio of Zane Scotland, Lee Corfield and Luke Joy, who between them have won 15 times on the tour.
Characters will evolve and storylines will branch out as exciting prospects like England's James Allan who will enjoy the first taste of the atmosphere in the paid ranks.
The presence of defending champion Paul Doherty of Scotland and Miles Tunnicliff, a two-time winner on the European Tour, has further bolstered the field which comprises 111 players, including a slew of fresh faces who have graduated from the inaugural Mena Golf Tour Qualifying School held recently in Spain.
Ayoub Lguirati of Morocco will join Saudi Arabia's Khaled Attieh in leading the challenge in the amateur division, which has attracted 15 players in what could mark the start of a rivalry for years between the two young Arabs who bring their own flair and exuberance to the game.
Spearheading the challenge in the professional category will be the tested Moroccan trio of Ahmed Marjan, Faycal Serghini and Younes El Hassani along with rising stars Mehdi Sassi and Mustapha El Maouas.
A three-time runner-up on the Mena Golf Tour, Serghini is confident of shaking off the choker tag this time around.
"I am getting close, very close. I think it is just a matter of time before my time comes. The door will open sooner or later," said Serghini. Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the Mena Golf Tour, thanked the Royal Golf Mohammedia management and the Moroccan Golf Federation for their continued support to the tour.
"For the overall development of golf, it is important we have significant participation from all countries in the region. The Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award, which we introduced in 2014, has intensified the competition among the region's talent, leading to some improved performances, which is great."
"We also appreciate all the hard work the host venues do in preparing the courses which are always in great condition and we can expect some exciting golf ahead."
Located next to the Atlantic Ocean, the Royal Mohammedia's Course runs through avenues of pine and eucalyptus trees, progressing onto more links-like terrain along the shoreline where the landscape is reminiscent of an old-fashioned Scottish seaside course with small dunes and tumbling fairways.
"Heavily bulbous because of its proximity to the sea" is the quaint way the course has been described by the Moroccans.