European Golf Tour
PGA European - Trophee Hassan II Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, March 28th through Sunday, March 31st
SITE: Golf du Palais Royal, Agadir, Morocco
COURSE ARCHITECT: Robert Trent Jones Sr (1987)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 6,986
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 5 530 yds10 - Par 5 491 yds
2 - Par 3 208 yds11 - Par 4 367 yds
3 - Par 4 433 yds12 - Par 3 211 yds
4 - Par 4 467 yds13 - Par 4 421 yds
5 - Par 5 580 yds14 - Par 3 171 yds
6 - Par 4 406 yds15 - Par 5 519 yds
7 - Par 4 368 yds16 - Par 3 210 yds
8 - Par 3 200 yds17 - Par 5 511 yds
9 - Par 4 409 yds18 - Par 4 484 yds
36 3,601 Yds36 3,385 Yds
Annual:  36th (4th on European Tour)
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (ET)
Defending Champion:  Michael Hoey
Runner-Up:  Damien McGrane
Tournament Record:  266 (Rhys Davies, 2010)
54-Hole Record:  198 (Louis Oosthuizen, 2010)
36-Hole Record:  132 (Rhys Davies, 2010)
Course Record:  61 (Jamie Donaldson, 2012)
Total Purse:  $1,928,283 (1,500,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $322,175; 2nd Place - $214,774; 3rd Place - $121,008
2012 Finish
Michael Hoey271Keith Horne276
Damien McGrane274Edoardo Molinari276
Phillip Price275Matteo Manassero276
Robert Coles275Five players at277
Jamie Donaldson275
Past Trophee Hassan II Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Michael Hoey (271) -- Damien McGrane
2011*David Horsey (274) -- Jaco Van Zyl, Rhys Davies
2010Rhys Davies (266) -- Louis Oosthuizen
2009Not Held
2008Ernie Els (275) -- Simon Dyson
2007Padraig Harrington
2006Sam Torrance
2005Erik Compton
2004Not Held
2003Santiago Luna
2002Santiago Luna
2001Joakim Haeggman
2000Roger Chapman
1999David Toms
1998Santiago Luna
1997Colin Montgomerie
1996Ignacio Garrido
1995Nick Price
1994Martin Gates
1993Payne Stewart
1992Payne Stewart
1991Vijay Singh
1990Not Held
1989Not Held
1988Not Held
1987Not Held
1986Not Held
1985Ken Green
1984Roger Maltbie
1983Ron Streck
1982Frank Conner
1981Bob Eastwood
1980Ed Sneed
1979Mike Brannan
1978Peter Townsend
1977Lee Trevino
1976Salvador Balbuena
1975Billy Casper
1974Larry Ziegler
1973Billy Casper
1972Ron Cerrudo
1971Orville Moody

Top Contenders in the Field
Michael HoeymcT-19Won
Damien McGranemcT-602nd
Edoardo Molinari------T-6
Ignacio GarridoT-3T-37T-9
David HorseyT-29WonT-14
Mikko IlonenT-3T-7T-17
Francesco MolinariT-10---T-17
Julien QuesneT-43---T-37
Rhys DaviesWonT-2T-58
Raphael JacquelinT-56T-29T-58
Stephen GallacherT-19---mc
R. Cabrera-BellomcT-44---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - David Howell
Darkhorse - Tommy Fleetwood
Last Week's Pick to Win (Charl Schwartzel) - Finished tied for 4th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Wen n-chong Liang) - Finished tied for 22nd
The European Tour travels to Morocco this week for the Trophee Hassan II. The highest-ranked players in the field are Francesco Molinari (39), Stephen Gallacher (64) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (65). This is the final European Tour event prior to the season's first major in the United States, The Masters. This event is being played at Golf du Palais Royal, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones and opened in 1987.

Former European Ryder Cup player David Howell has played well this year. Howell, a former top-10 player in the world, has made the cut in all eight events he has played this season and has made 14 straight cuts dating back to last year. Howell, who has not won since the 2006 BMW Championship, has three top-10 finishes this season, including a tie for sixth last week at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

This is the 36th staging of this tournament, but fourth as part of the European Tour. It was first played in 1971 and is the longest-running sporting event in Morocco. Previous winners are major champions Orville Moody, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Vijay Singh, Payne Stewart, Nick Price, David Toms, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els.

Last year, Michael Hoey fired two weekend rounds of 7-under 65s to come from behind and win. Hoey finished at 17-under-par 271 and won by three strokes over Damien McGrane.

In 2011, David Horsey birdied the second playoff hole to defeat Jaco Van Zyl and 2010 champion Rhys Davies. It was the Englishman's second win on the European Tour, having previously won the 2010 BMW International Open.

Horsey aced the second hole in the final round en route to victory, becoming only the fourth player in European Tour history to make a hole-in-one in the final round and go on to win. The other players were Thongchai Jaidee (2004 Malaysian Open), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2008 BMW PGA Championship) and Alvaro Quiros (2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic).

Davies fired a 7-under 66 in the final round in 2010 to come from behind and win by two strokes over 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen. Davies, who was the only player in the field to shoot four rounds in the 60s, completed his first European Tour victory at 25-under-par 266. Davies' 25- under score was the lowest winning 72-hole total in relation to par on the European Tour in 2010.

The European Tour moves to the United States in two weeks for the first major championship of the year, The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, where American Bubba Watson will defend his first major title.

03/26 16:14:02 ET

As of March 26, 2013, at 04:14 PM ET