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Trophee Hassan II 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

Trophee Hassan II 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

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    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    The European Tour moves on to Morocco's Golf du Palais Royal course for the Trophee Hassan II this week, following on from the recent Cadillac Championship in Florida.

    This fifth annual edition of the tournament sees Marcel Siem aim to defend his trophy on "a pure links course, with its bumpy fairways built on sand, and its greens sitting on formidable slopes," as described by the European Tour website.

    Siem is an admirer of the tournament due to its unique location—situated right next to the Atlantic Ocean—and the esteemed grounds in which it takes place, as revealed to the European Tour's online coverage prior to the competition's start:

    "Playing inside the palace walls also gives it a special feel to the week, so when you put all that together you can see why the players love the event so much," said Siem. "It feels like a real privilege to play the king's course."

    The German will be aiming to once again capture the €1,500,000 prize against challengers including George Coetzee, Ross Fisher, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Chris Wood.

    Siem is yet to land victory during the current European season and will be particularly wary of Fisher's recent form, which saw the Englishman crowned champion during South Africa's Tshwane Open at the beginning of the month.

    Last year's winner joined Rhys Davies (2010), David Horsey (2011), Michael Hoey (2012) as victors since the tournament gained European Tour status in 2010, with the leading scores finishing at -25, -13, -17 and -17, according to Dave Tindall of Sky Sports.

    The contest runs from March 13-16. Be sure to stick with Bleacher Report for the latest updates, rankings and tidbits.

Day 4 Recap: Canizares Completes Dominating Performance

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    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Alejandro Canizares was a weekend warrior in Morocco as he completed a stellar two days of golf to win the Trophee Hassan II going away.

    Canizares finished at 19 under par for the tournament after firing a two-under 70 on Sunday. He won by five strokes. The second-place finisher Andy Sullivan needed a nine-under 63 just to get that close.

    The 30-year-old Spaniard captured his second career win on the European Tour and only his second top-five finish this season. 

    Over the last four days, Canizares was just a birdie-making machine. After sinking and average of 7.33 birdies per round in the first three rounds, Canizares had five more on Sunday to close the deal.

    Here's a look at the final leaderboard:

    PositionNameNationTo Par
    1.Alejandro CanizaresSpain-19
    2.Andy SullivanEngland-14
    T3Magnus CarlssonSweden-12
    T3Seve BensonEngland-12
    T5Rafa Cabrera-BelloSpain-11
    T5Richard BlandEngland-11
    T5Wade OrmsbyAustralia-11
    T8Tom LewisEngland-10
    T8David HorseyEngland-10
    T8Paul WaringEngland-10

    As dominant as Canizares was in Morocco, the win doesn't match his play throughout the season. As golf columnist Scott Michaux writes, the win will only take Canizares as high as the top 85 in Masters rankings.

    Perhaps this can be the launching point for a great season for Canizares. If he plays the majors—as would be expected—and captures one of them, he could be headed for a significant boost in his world ranking.

    Only time will tell. For now, he should just enjoy a spectacular performance.

Day 3 Recap: Canizares and Benson Set the Pace Once Again in Morocco

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    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Alejandro Canizares and Seve Benson held their positions at the top of the leaderboard after the third day in Morocco, as the top ten changed once again.

    Robert-Jan Derksen rose eleven places as he sits in third, one-under behind Benson, with two nineteen-place jumps for England's Paul Waring and India's Shiv Kapur left them tied-fourth with Robert Karlsson, Magnus Carlsson and David Horsey.

    Australia's Wade Ormsby and Scotland's Marc Warren jumped into the top ten after both recording a round of 70 to tie in ninth with Richard Bland.

    Here's a look at the leaderboard:

    PositionNameNationTo Par
    1.Alejandro CanizaresSpain-17
    2.Seve BensonEngland-11
    3.Robert-Jan DerksenNetherlands-10
    T4.Paul WaringEngland-8
    T4.Shiv KapurIndia-8
    T4.Robert KarlssonSweden-8
    T4.Magnus CarlssonSweden-8
    T4.David HorseyEngland-8
    T9.Wade OrmsbyAustralia-7

    You can check the full standings on the European Tour's official website

    Canizares found par on the back four after a good run of three birdies five holes, just after half way to extend his lead to 17-under, as the Spaniard maintained top spot.

    It was an excellent round for Benson, too, who hit four birdies on the back nine but with two bogeys and three-over on the 12th, he could not match Canizares' form on the green.

    The European Tour tweeted of how the Spaniard maintains his lead, despite a career-low round:

    After a career low round of 62 on day one, @Acanizares10 leads the @HASSAN2TROPHY by one shot from @SeveBenson

    Derksen's rise into the top three was cemented after a good third day, finding par on the majority of holes but capping an excellent outing with five birdies to rise him up the leaderboard.

    Carlsson had a mixed bag of a day, as two bogeys on the front nine and one birdy left for a up-and-down back nine with two-under on the tenth, while losing that advantage with two-over on the next hole but maintained joint-fourth.

    David Horsey also continued his good tournament with par across the front nine—barring for a three-under hole on the second, but his back-nine display of four birdies and just one bogey keeps him in contention, sat level with Carlsson.

    Also joint-fourth are Kapur, who saw a major jump into the top rankings, along with Paul Waring, who hit two-under on the 17th to move into the top 10.

    Bland and Ormbsy both finished on a round of 70 despite a mixed day for both, as Ormsby didn't find his stride until stepping onto the back nine, while Bland bogeyed the last putt to prevent him from being joint-seventh at the end of the third day.

    The round's biggest drop saw USA's Connor Arendell hit two-over on the fifth and four bogeys on the front nine to slide out of the top spots and into joint-20th.

Day 2 Recap: Alejandro Canizares Keeps One-Shot Lead over Seve Benson

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    Alejandro Canizares continued his good form across day two, posting a score of 68 and four under par—the same as England's Seve Benson—to keep his place in top spot.

    Benson also kept his second-placed berth after the second round, with Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello hitting five under par for the day to jettison him into tied-third place, while Connor Arendell fell into joint fourth.

    Joining him there were Magnus Carlsson, who slipped two places, and David Horsey, who recorded a 46-place jump in the second round.

    Here's a look at the leaderboard:

    PositionNameNationTo Par
    1.Alejandro CanizaresSpain-14
    2.Seve BensonEngland-13
    3.Rafa Cabrera-BelloSpain-9
    T4.Connor ArendellUSA-8
    T4.Magnus CarlssonSweden-8
    T4.David HorseyEngland-8
    7.Gregory BourdyFrance-7
    T8.Michael HoeyN. Ireland-6
    T8.Robert KarlssonSweden-6

    You can check the full standings on the European Tour's official website.

    Canizares kept his place at the top of the leaderboard after reaching his total of 130, with large thanks to an impressive six birdies from the back nine.

    Benson kept pressure on the Spaniard by hitting 131, but could not find the form on the green to snatch top spot from the Spaniard.

    An excellent round for Cabrera-Bello helped him jump seven places and breach the top ten, hitting a birdie on the tenth, followed by four birdies across the final six holes to show a turnaround in fortunes from the opening nine holes, moving into third spot.

    Arendell, a relative unknown on the tour, maintained his place near the top on the second day, capping a good start to the event and, as reported by Phil Casey of Press Association and via the Daily Mail, the 23-year-old acknowledged the experience that he can pick up in Morocco:

    It's a great start. I gave both tours a try, q-school wise, but I just think this is the best thing for me now that the PGA has done away with getting your card (through qualifying). I am not a huge fan of that so I wanted to give this a try and it's worked out so far.

    I think it's huge, coming over here getting that experience, the travelling; week to week the courses vary quite a bit compared to the US so you are working a lot on getting used to the greens and the courses. It's tough, but I think over time it will make it that much easier when I'm in the US.

    Three bogies and a horror show on the fifth hole, where Andy Sullivan finally putted on eight-over, meant the Englishman's drop to tied-eighteenth as his second round proved tricky, but better news for Horsey, who jumped 46 places to make the top six after a round of 64 and eight-under for the day.

    Carlsson recorded a round of 71 after two costly bogies from the last four holes lost him his place in the top three.

    Frenchman Gregory Bourdy joins the top nine in seventh place after four birdies from the back nine meant a three-place leap for the 31-year-old. And Northern Ireland's Micheael Hoey and Robert Karlsson are now both joint-eighth after rounds of 70 and 67 respectively.

Day 1 Recap: Alejandro Canizares Takes One-Shot Lead on Tight Opening Day

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    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Alejandro Canizares posted an excellent 10-under round of 62 round in difficult conditions during the opening day of this year's Trophee Hassan II championship. The Spaniard easily overcame windy conditions that caught many of his competitors out and leads England's Seve Benson by one shot.

    Here's a look at the leaderboard:

    PositionNameNationTo Par
    1.Alenjandro CanizaresSpain-10
    2.Seve BensonEngland-9
    T3.Connor ArendellUSA-7
    T3.Magnus CarlssonSweden-7
    T5.Andy SullivanEngland-6
    T5.Tommy FleetwoodEngland-6
    T5.Marc WarrenScotland-6
    T8.Peter WhitefordScotland-5
    T8.Gaganjeet BhullarIndia-5

    You can check the full standings on the European Tour's official website.

    Canizares suffered just one mishap on his way to 11 birdies. He bogeyed the third, but more than made up for it with a consistent showing throughout the day's play. The 31-year-old nailed four consecutive birdies from the 12th and threatened to storm into a huge lead, but Benson remained just off the pace.

    The Englishman, who is still looking for his first European Tour win, sank nine birdies and managed to hit par on the remaining holes. As reported by Phil Casey of the Press Association and via the Daily Mail, Benson acknowledged the testing weather after carding a useful 63:

    It was so windy out there on the back nine pars were a good score, but I just managed to play the tough holes well and sink some putts. Capitalising on my chances is the big thing for me. I have been working really hard with my putting coach and it paid off today.

    Connor Arendell is an unknown quantity on the European Tour, and is yet to earn a buck from winnings, but he has shot into the consciousness of many by hitting a smart 65. The American, who is ranked 1,511th in the world, confidently brought home eight birdies and one bogey to put him in contention.

    He joins the far more experienced Magnus Carlsson on 65. Like Canizares, the Swede struggled at the third, hitting his only bogey on the par-4 hole.

    Englishmen Andy Sullivan and Tommy Fleetwood are locked on six-under, although they reached this score via differing displays. Sullivan remained consistently solid, if unspectacular, with six birdies—four of which came down the back nine's final quartet of holes.

    Fleetwood appeared less in control and was forced to combat a bogey on the eighth with a terrific eagle on the 17th. The pair reside just ahead of Scottish contingent Marc Warren (-6) and Peter Whiteford (-5), while India's Gaganjeet Bhullar also remains in a decent position on the latter score.

    Defending champion Marcel Siem is tied 17th after shooting three-under for the day. The German will need to quickly improve during the second round if he is to leave Morocco with his crown in check, but as we've already witnessed on this challenging links course, the teasing weather forecast could play a huge part in where the prize ends up.

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