Rhys Davies of Wales fired a fantastic final round of 66 to win the Trophée Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam by two shots from South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen took a two shot lead into the final round and the advantage was extended to three when Davies made a bogey four at the short second. But the dropped shot galvanised the Welshman into action and he made an incredible eight birdies over the next 12 holes.
Displaying a wonderful putting touch, the 24-year-old from Bridgend put the pressure squarely on the South African and took the lead with a three at the par-4 11th. But Oosthuizen, the odds-on favourite going into the final round, struck back with an eagle three at the 12th to return to the top of the leaderboard.
Davies was relentless, however, and he birdied the next two holes to reclaim the lead. He parred his way in from there and that was good enough for the rookie to secure his maiden European Tour victory.
I’m a little bit lost at the moment – this is all completely surreal to me,” he said. “It’s all a bit of a blur. I just kept focusing on hitting the ball as close to the flag as I could and holing every putt and I nearly did just about that.”
It was a disappointing end for Oosthuizen who might have played his way into the World’s top-50 and secured an invitation to The Masters had he won. “It just wasn’t happening for me at all with the irons. I didn’t put the ball close enough to the pin in order to give myself chances.”
From fairly early in Sunday’s proceedings it was clear the tournament was to be a two-horse race though the battle for third was a closely fought one.
Thomas Levet looked to have it sewn up, needing just a par on the final hole to take third spot on his own. But the Frenchman’s third missed the green and he failed to get up and down. It dropped him back into a tie with Ignacio Garrido, Thomas Aiken and Mikko Ilonen who made two eagles in his final round of 66.
Trophée Hassan II
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Morroco
Mar 18-21, purse €1,375,000, par 73
1 Rhys Davies (Wal) 68 64 68 66 266 €229,160
2 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 70 64 64 70 268 €152,770
T3 Thomas Levet (Fra) 69 65 68 71 273 €65,313
T3 Ignacio Garrido (Esp) 67 67 69 70 273 €65,313
T3 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 71 69 67 66 273 €65,313
T3 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 67 68 67 71 273 €65,313
T7 Christian Nilsson (Swe) 71 68 70 66 275 €35,475
T7 Robert Rock (Eng) 71 67 67 70 275 €35,475
T7 Danny Willett (Eng) 73 67 64 71 275 €35,475
T10 Peter Lawrie (Ire) 66 70 73 67 276 €25,483
T10 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 66 70 70 70 276 €25,483
T10 Gareth Maybin (NIR) 72 69 66 69 276 €25,483
Note: Player scores in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only