by Jesse Reiter
Sunday was the final day of the Hassan II Golf Trophy, and as expected, Ernie Els won. He posted a final score of 17 under, followed by Simon Dyson in second and Johan Edfors in third.
The trophy presentation was lavish, complete with Scottish bagpipers and much of the upper echelon of the Moroccan government. Prince Moulay Rachid, who presided over the presentation, seemed very pleased with the outcome. At left, the prince presented Els with the trophy.
Ernie Els has confirmed in the best way possible his tournament favorite status by winning the 36th edition of the Hassan II Trophy in an exciting finish. His successful putt on the 17th hole made the difference for the South African.
With a 68 in the last round for a total score of 275 (-17), Ernie Els who stood 4 strokes behind the leader at the beginning of the last round, won by 2 strokes taking 150 000 dollars and the golden sword offered by HRH Prince Moulay Rachid during the Prize Ceremony.
"I am stunned but elated by this victory because after my double bogey on 3, my position was rather difficult. But then I played very well and had 7 birdies" happily reported the number10 player in the world at the end of the play. "I discovered and appreciated the Red Course of Dar Es Salam which indeed is a fantastic golf course and I enjoyed Morocco which I didn't know. I have the firm intention to come back next year and defend my title."
However three holes before the end, the suspense continued with three players, Ernie Els, Simon Dyson and Johan Edfors standing all at -16. But Dyson had a bogey on 16 and Edfors a bogey on 18 after driving the ball on the left. Third last year, Simon Dyson who was leading at the end of the third round, finishes 2nd tied with Edfors while Paul Mc Ginley ends up 4th tied with Michael Hoey who, with a 66, had the best round of the day.
Among the Moroccan players, Younés El Hassani scores the best result with a last round of 71 and 15th on the leaderboard. Fayçal Serghini ends up 20th and Amine Joudar 24th and last."It's a logical ending", declares Seghrini. "We don't play enough tounaments during the year to expect a better result in such a high tounament".
Rabat, November 11, 2008 – Recognizing the success of youth, on the sidelines of the 36 Hassan II Golf Trophy, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Moulay Rachid, President of the Hassan II Golf Trophy, on Sunday (November 9, 2008) awarded the prizes the winners of the Kid’s Cup.
Crown Prince Moulay Rachid, who is an advocate of youth empowerment, highlighted the key role played by the youth in the society’s development, stressing the need to include youth in the decision making process.
Crown Prince Moulay Rachid’s efforts on the local and international levels are running towards enhancing public awareness about the role of youth and their personal achievement.
On that note, on Sunday’s ceremony Crown Prince Moulay Rachid personally presented the best boy Mehdi Saïss and best girl, Khadija Deller with complete golf club sets.
Beaming with the sense of pride, junior players also took a photo with their much-loved Crown Prince Moulay Rachid.
Crown Prince Moulay Rachid witnessed firsthand the incredible power and positive impact the National Development of Junior Golf, which He launched in 2003, has on young people's lives and their sense of pride.
The Kid’s Cup, was held on November 1 thru 2, 2008 at the Royal Golf of Anfa-Mohamedia.
Monday November 10, 2008 | 04:58:41 pm
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – As I often do whenever my layover allows, here is another installment of “Airport Thoughts", where I serve up a few closing opines on a recently completed trip. This time, I come from JFK airport after spending six days in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, for the King Hassan II Trophy, won by Ernie Els Sunday.
I’ve never been on a trip quite like Morocco.
- First of all, I must say I am always happy to return to America after spending time abroad. That said, I just had a rude awakening here in the JFK lounge: my coffee is terrible. Compared to the cocoa deliciousness I’ve been sipping the past week in hotels, restaurants and even the tournament media tent, this is weak and tastes like gutter water. For being a nation of bountiful resources, America’s standards for what makes an acceptable brew is sorely underachieving.
- Earlier this week, I wrote a little bit about Royal Dar es Salam’s Red Course. It’s the best 18 of 45 holes at the Golf Club, and it’s quite good. I likened it to the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach for it’s RTJ Sr. design and terrain that resembles the lowcountry a little. However, I just discovered the Red Course asks 45 Euros to walk 18 holes.
That’s a steal for a course that I think could ask $150 in the peak season easily in Myrtle Beach. That said, the Dunes Club’s bent grass greens are far superior.
- At the golf tournament this week, spectator dress was something to watch in itself. Fans wore everything from women wearing traditional Moroccan dresses that covered them head to toe, to younger women wearing healed boots, big sun glasses, designer jeans and carrying huge Dolce & Gabana purses. The guys were in pinstriped suits or in flashy shirts you might wear to a David Guetta concert in Ibiza. I’ve never seen so many designer jeans at a golf
event. I was wearing the usual polo & khakis and was definitely in the minority doing so.
- During a tour of Rabat’s historic Kasbah district, which feels kind of like the narrow, blue and white-walled streets of Mykonos, our tour guide asked us if we had tried any “Moroccan whiskey” yet. Morocco makes whiskey?
He replied, “Moroccan whiskey is ‘mint tea’.”
It’s also fantastic. They brew a delicious tea and they drink it everywhere. They’re also hooked on Coca-Cola. At a formal gala dinner earlier in the week, waiters were walking around topping off everyone’s wine glasses with Coke.
- The Caribbean has stray island dogs everywhere. In Rabat, there are stray cats (and kittens). They wander around tourist districts, open markets and restaurants. We were eating outside our last night there, and a black one leaped out of the bushes and breezed right by our host’s head, startling her dearly.
- I always thought the craziest driving I’ve ever seen is in Rome. Rabat however, has taken it’s place. We passed our share of collisions during our stay there and narrowly dodged a few of our own (and I’m still speechless after seeing several motorcycles that squeeze both mom, dad and a seat belt and helmet-less infant baby in between them. Are there no lawyers in Morocco?). We went out with a young woman our last night there who ran red lights and stop signs, would go in reverse down roads, pass other cars by weaving in between oncoming traffic and perform enough other stunts to make one of the passengers cry in fear. My heart beat hasn’t raced that fast since I had my first slow dance in 6th grade.
I should also mention the car was a tiny old thing from the 1970s and the driver passed on her seat belt. “I know my car, I know the roads, and I know my fellow Moroccan drivers” she assured us. It sounded a lot like the Italian cabbies who defended their insane driving by saying “The gods watch over us in the Eternal city.”
There is plenty more to say on golf and Morocco. Stay tuned next week to Dave Berner’s This Week Podcast on TravelGolf.com as I’ll talk Morocco golf with him. And check back in for articles and photos from the trip here at WorldGolf.com.
PETERCULTER tour professional Greig Hutcheon earned $12,750 for a joint 12th place behind winner Ernie Els in the Hassan II Trophy tournament over the Royal Dar Es Salam course at Rabat, Morocco, yesterday.
Hutcheon had rounds of 71, 69, 72 and 74 for a total of six-under-par 286 over the par-73 course.
Els collected the $150,000 top prize, thanks to a final round of 68 for a total of 275, overtaking overnight leader Simon Dyson who finished with a 74 for joint second place on 277 with Johan Edfors (Sweden).
Asia-based Scot Ross Bain finished joint 10th with scores of 69, 69, 70 and 77 for 285 and a reward of $13,780.
Laura Davies is still going strong at the age of 44. The English player won the Princess Lalla Meryem Cup over the same course at Rabat on Saturday. She had rounds of 67, 69 and 70 for a 13-under-par total of 206.
Rabat, November 10, 2008 - The participants of the 36th Hassan II Golf Trophy received some heartfelt congratulations from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Moulay Rachid, President of the Hassan II Golf Trophy, when He presented prizes among the winners at the ceremony held at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on Sunday.
Looking characteristically radiant in a stylish tailored suit, Crown Prince Moulay Rachid has hardly had time to catch His breath this week, in a long string of commitments governing the state functions.
However, the 38-year-old Royal wasn't about to miss the annual golfing event, which is the most important international event in the Moroccan calendar.
Crown Prince Moulay Rachid was clearly enjoying His opportunity to mingle with international golfers; witnesses noticed genuine warmth between the Royal and His golfing guests.
The prizewinners each accepted their awards from the hands of Crown Prince Moulay Rachid at a formal ceremony in Rabat.
The Hassan II Golf Trophy title went to Ernie Els and the Lalla Meryem Cup to Laura Davies.
A distinct feature of this year's Trophy was the participation of Morocco's junior players for the first time in the history of the trophy, thanks to the "wild cards" granted by Crown Prince Moulay Rachid.
The Hassan II Golf Trophy is part of Crown Prince Moulay Rachid successful efforts to popularize sports among the young generation and preserve the rich culture and heritage of the country.
The Trophy, organized under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Moulay Rachid by the Hassan II Golf Trophy Society, proved to be Morocco’s most high profile event.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Moulay Rachid, President of the Hassan II Golf Trophy, poses for a souvenir photo with the winner of the Hassan II Golf Trophy, Mr. Ernie Els and the winner of the Lalla Meryem Cup, Ms. Laura Davies.
While the eyes of the golf world were focused on the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai (won by Sergio Garcia in a playoff against Oliver Wilson), Els was exploring new territory in North Africa and winning a minor tournament on the side.
Els carded a five-under 68 for a total of 17 under par to finish two strokes ahead of a faltering Simon Dyson of England and Sweden’s Johan Edfors.
Els claimed a winning cheque of $150 000 but probably did more good to another section of his alleged agenda -- assessing locations for a golf course development to bear his name.
Given the time differences and the status of the tournament it was not immediately clear whether his win in Morocco would preserve Els’s long-standing position in the Top 10 of the world golf rankings.
275 – Ernie Els (SA) 69 67 71 68
277 – Simon Dyson (Eng) 67 71 65 74; Johan Edfors (Sweden) 68 70 69 70.
279 – Paul McGinley (Ire) 66 69 70 74; Michael Hoey (N Ire) 74 69 70 66.
281 – Mark Foster (Eng) 67 70 73 71; Miguel Angel Martin (Spain) 73 69 69 70.