Designed by famed American course architect Robert Trent-Jones, the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam is a short distance outside the city of Rabat on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. At almost 7,500 yards it’s a significant test of length. But there are other challenges too in the form of numerous dogleg fairways, raised greens and, on the signature par-three ninth, an island green surrounded by a lily pond in which flamingos are usually found wading. This course will stage the European Tour for the third successive year, following Edoardo Molinari’s victory 12 months ago, when he beat Paul Dunne in a play-off with Paul Waring just one shot back. Jeunghun Wang was the winner in 2016, while Dar Es Salam first held this tournament when Rhys Davies claimed the title back in 2010.
European Tour Favourites
Dunne finished second in Spain on Sunday to post his third successive top 10 finish on the European Tour and the in-form Irishman heads the betting for this week’s event at best odds of 14/1* with Betfred. George Coetzee stormed up the leaderboard in Madrid over the weekend and is at 18/1* here, alongside Joost Luiten, the winner in Oman in February. Thomas Pieters has struggled to make his expected impact since finishing fifth on his first start of the year in Abu Dhabi, but the Belgian is at 20/1* with Ladbrokes and Coral, ahead of Alexander Levy who is 25s with the same two firms. Pablo Larrazabal, Andy Sullivan and Jorge Campillo are others near the top of the market.
European Tour Tips
Renato Paratore has been inconsistent throughout his short career to date, but he has shown plenty of promise too and he will only get better with experience. The 21-year-old Italian has missed five cuts in eight starts this year, but he’s also had two top 10 finishes and he was 21st in Madrid last week. Last year was peppered with missed cuts too, but he won the Nordea Masters and he was in the top 10 here for the second successive year. If he gets offs to a good start, he could go close again and he’s a decent each-way chance at 66/1* with Ladbrokes or Bet365.
Marc Warren is a player who can get on a roll when he finds a little bit of form, as he showed late last summer when he finished second, 15th, fourth and 10th from the Portugal Masters to the Italian Open. He enjoyed similar purple patches in late 2016 and early 2015 and his performance at the Open de Espana, where he put together four rounds of 69 to share fifth place, could be the spark for another profitable spell. The Scot is available at the tasty price of 100/1* across the board.
Adrian Otaegui was one of our selections in Spain last week and he played well, with a closing round of 66 on Sunday taking him to a share of 12th place. It followed on from 12th and 10th place finishes in his previous two appearances and extended his run of tournaments without missing a cut to 10. The Spaniard is well on track to keep his card for next season and is playing with confidence. He looks to be not too far away from a big performance and merits being a shorter price than the 55/1* on offer from Bet365 and Betfred.
The Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Course
The Valero Texas Open has been held at the 7,400 yard Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio since 2010, with the event won in that time by local favourite Charley Hoffman, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele, Ben Curtis, Martin Laird, Steven Bowditch, Jimmy Walker and, last year, Kevin Chappell. The course balances narrow tree-lined fairways rewarding accuracy off the tee with several wider fairways which allow for a more tactical approach to the greens.
*Odds subject to change.