Golf: Put Your Fez on Burmester

The European Tour starts in earnest this week, with a large field heading to Rabat in Morocco to compete for the Trophee Hassan II.

This tournament has been sanctioned by the European Tour since 2010. It takes place on a relatively new course, which plays a massive 7,615 yards with a par of 73, including five par 5s. It has small greens, but open fairways – in other words, a bomber’s paradise!

Tackling the par 5s will be key, and length off the tee will allow for short iron approaches to those small greens.

Dean Burmester looks a deserving favourite against a large but weak field. A six-time winner on the South African tour, he hits it an absolute mile. He has grown into the European Tour, registering a top 10 in Abu Dhabi before a maiden tour success last time by a healthy three shot margin.

He is world ranked 95 and rising fast, and has had the benefit of playing this course when a useful 14th last year in what was his first year outside of South Africa. He may not be a familiar name yet … but he’s coming.

Think bombers (golfing that is) and you think of Belgian ball-smasher Nicolas Colsaerts. The Ryder Cup star has fallen a long way from that lofty perch – but even in a poor season last year he hit 98 European tour greens in under regulation (19 more than the next highest) showing his suitability to par 5s.

A break in Mauritius, watching from afar and cheering on compatriot Thomas Pieters, having the career at the Masters that Colsaerts once promised, may be enough to charge up the batteries and the psyche ahead of this return to tour action. He is a risk on current form, but he should like the course and is a cut above most of these if he can rediscover his touch.

Recommendation: Burmester to win at 16/1, SkyBet, and Colsaerts each way at 80/1, 1/5 for six places, Boylesports

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