19th February 2010 | Alps Tour Golf

Scot Dear and English Dodd on top


It took 3 days and a half to complete the first two rounds of the Open de Mogador. The weather was so bad that players could not play on first and third day of initial schedule. Players, officials, greenkeepers had to sweat it out and waited for better weather conditions. Typhoon has left the area during Thursday night and today sky was clear at day break.

Two players enjoyed this fair weather and signed for 64, the first official course record. Scottish Gavin Dear and English Lawrence Dodd took a five stroke advantage ahead of Frenchman Jérôme Forestier.

Dodd, 26 year old, is playing in Morocco for first time. “I had full category on Challenge Tour in 2008 but I did not play very well so last year I had a poor ranking. I am a good friend of Steve Lewton who finished 4th on the Alps Tour order of merit last year and he told me that the Alps Tour is well run. It is the only satellite tour with a full season so I decided to be a member and I made qualifying school.”

As amateur, Dodd played for English Elite Squad and won the Greek championship in 2004. As professional, his best performance was a top 40 at Saint Omer. He has today a real opportunity to  get his maiden victory.

“I only missed one fairway in 36 holes. I am used to play in windy conditions so I handled well tough conditions we had. The greens are softer thanks to the rain so I could be a little more aggressive.”

Scot Dear is racing for a maiden win too. The English-Scottish duel of the third and final round will for sure be thrilling as both of players are in a very good form today. Fellow players in the group of Dear made this comment at recording : “We won’t him for a long time on the Alps Tour…”

However, Dear felt a little sick this morning and confessed his card could have been even better.

“ I have been training on the course for more than 10 days. As we had two days during which we did not play it helps me a lot because I knew the course very much. I started my second round with 3 birdies in a raw and today I played well but honestly I did not feel very well due to something I ate. I could have scored 61 or 62. My goal this morning was not to fall ill on course ! This afternoon, the target is to play about 68, 67 and not to drop a shot as I did on the first 36 holes.”

The last round will start at the very beginning of the afternoon. It will be a shot gun start for 46 players including 4 amateurs as the cut is fixed at +3.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

| Alps Tour Golf

Maiden win for Dodd


English Lawrence Dodd won his maiden victory with a 3 strokes advantage. He shot 67 for a total of -17 on the beautiful course of Golf de Mogador at Essaouira, Morocco. Gavin Dead finished second at -14.

Dear and Dodd were in the last group. Dodd holed two birdies on the first two holes. At that moment, it seemed that Dodd was on an easy road to win but Dear were still closed and took advantage after 5th hole. Dodd had to wait until the 9th hole to be “square” again.

On the 12th  hole, as both players were -14, Dear missed a short put to take the lead. On par 3 13th, they both missed the green. Dodd did a beautiful bunker shot, as well as Dear made a great chip and run. They saved par and total scores did not change but Dodd’s mind took a another direction.

“At the beginning of the last round, I was nervous. I did not feel very confident until my bunker shot of the 13th. Then I holed two birdies in a raw and I started to relax.”

Dear was still playing very solid, but needed some birdy. He drove the 15th hole perfectly over the forest, but can not do better than par. On 16th, a short par 5, easy birdy for everybody. Dodd were leading by two strokes with two holes to play.

Gavin Dead, who had only dropped one shot in 52  holes pushed his drive on the 17th and landed in the woods. As usual, Dodd found the fairway – he only missed two tee shots in 3 rounds-. Dear hit his recovery shot but the ball touched the top of a tree and stayed short of the green in a bunker. He finally dropped two shots after a three put.

“As I felt a bit sick this morning I did not eat for lunch. I think I miss energy on the 17th tee shot. That is not an excuse but it can explain… “.

Dodd had 4 shots to win and made par to sign for a 67. A huge smile lighted up his face and Alps Tour discovered a very kind new winner as it first tournament ended.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

18th February 2010 | Alps Tour Golf

Play suspended for the day


The weather in Morocco this week is kind of unbelievable. As far as residents can rebember, it has been a long time since Morocco had to suffer from such awful conditions.

All players were ready to start at 9h45, but unfortunatly, wind was too strong for balls to stand on greens.

The area of Golf de Mogador was pushed by heavy rain and huge gusts of wind. Players came to club house to be safe and waited for information.

At 1100 am, the Committee decided on suspending the play for the day.

More information to follow.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

| Alps Tour Golf

Re-start scheduled on Friday



We should finish the 2nd round at noon. And we’ll launch the third round about one hour later in shot-gun to close the tournament after three rounds.

17th February 2010 | Alps Tour Golf

Players on course!


Gentle wind, sun breaks through the clouds and players of the Open de Mogador finally teed off at 9:00.

It is going to be a long day. The weather forecast is good so once the first round is completed, players will start their second round.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

| Alps Tour Golf

Bozio takes lead in Morocco


Frenchman Benoit Bozio took a one stroke advantage after the first round at Essaouira. He shot a great 67, -5 and overtook at last minute a group a 4 players. Bozio, 27 years, won twice on the Alps Tour during 2007 season. He played on Challenge Tour in 2008.

As said, the odds were good for Britishmen. The weather conditions was perfect for those native from windy countries. Richard Kilpatrick from Northern Ireland, shot 68 as well as Scot Gavin Dear and English Lawrence Dodd. All these players are rookies on the Alps Tour and for sure do not want to have a token role. Last but not least of the group, Frenchman Jérôme Forestier signed for a 68, a good score to find confidence.

The best amateur, Mervin Rocchi, 20 year old, made his coach Benoit Willemart smile. He shot 69 and climbed on the 3rd place of podium tie with Italian Matteo Delpodio.

The first round was completed today between 14h00 and 16h30 and players started the second round in the same breath. The projected cut is +3.

Play was suspended at 18h10 at eventide. English Lawrence Dodd turned first nine holes 6 under par and took provisional lead at -10.

Play to resume tomorrow morning at 9h45. Heavy rain scheduled tonight.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

16th February 2010 | Alps Tour Golf

Regis Verheyden, Golf de Mogador director


Can you tell us about the resort ?

“Well, the first 18 holes has opened last June and the second course is planed to open early 2011. The first phase of the domain being developed is initially being built 320 hectares and was conceived with the sensitivity of integrating the course within natural environment.”

How many times Gary Player came on site ?

“ We have the Gary Player Signature brand so he comes 3 times for each course. I personally met him 3 times.”

Impressive ?

“ The most impressive, beside the career of the legendary player, is his kindness and the spirit he kept to build his courses. He wants 22 handicap players to enjoy the course. We have 6 tee areas on each hole. The course is very long, 6600 meters back tee but only 4000 front tee. Another example, Gary Player made us to file up a bunker at 50 meters of a green. He said he is not comfortable anymore with this kind of shot so he doesn’t want  to bother amateurs with that ! Obviously, he has real fun to do this job and still shows passion.”

I have been told that one of his goal is to protect ground water…

“ Obviously. It is one of his hobby-horse. Beside the courses, it is the same goal for the creators of the landscape. We have a unique innovative and ecological water treatment system. Two huge tanks collect grey water from the city. The water is cleaned by Jardins Filtrants, filtering gardens.”

Can everybody play on Golf de Mogador ?

“Absolutely. We would like to have a club life so we open membership to Essaouira residents. Green fees are available 7 days a week. You just have to justify for a official handicap. Next June, we will have a golf academy run by Benoit Willemart but any pro can come with clients for training. The Sofitel Hotel on site will open this summer.”

At Essaouira
Interview made by Agathe Séron

| Alps Tour Golf

First round postponed


The weather conditions are not getting better at Essaouira. Gusts of wind are getting stronger and stronger, more than 80 km per hour.

Balls could not stay on the greens so the tournament committee decided not to start the game.

The first round of the Open de Mogador is postponed to tomorrow at 9:00.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

15th February 2010 | Alps Tour Golf

Let's meet the Scots!


The first round of opening Alps Tour season event will start tomorrow. The Open de Mogador is one of the biggest tournament of the year. Many new names in the field, especially players from Great Britain and Spain. Qualifying stage took place in Italy last November and Scot Gavin Dear won with a 3 strokes advantage. His fellow and buddy Steven Hume earned his right to play Alps Tour too. This morning, they teed off early for training.

“It’s been now 7 days that we are here at Essaouira. The weather was great last week and we enjoyed the course very much. Today, it is very windy, at least 2 clubs more but the greens are softer.”

The two Scots are both 25 years old, just turned pro and decided to play on continental Europe. They have been told that the circuit is well run and obviously their target is the top 5 of the order of merit to play Challenge Tour next year. The odds for British players are good this week. The weather forecast bets on strong gusts of wind and showers. The winner this week will have, for sure, strong skills to play in the wind and to be patient. All players agreed to say that the Gary Player Signature course is really great, in a very good shape but very long, about  6700 meters back tee so the wind can turn a solid par 4 in a huge monster…

On Moroccan players side, experts gave the name of Younes El Hassani. The 36 years old player is living in Tanger and beside being a very solid player, he knows how to deal with winds from the sea. Faycal Serghini, touring playing pro of the Golf of Mogador shot 67 yesterday during his practice round and could be a serious pretender too.

At Essaouira
Agathe Séron

7th February 2010 | Alps Tour Golf

Launch of the 2010 season


The Alps Tour, member of the European Satellite Tour is pleased to announce the launch of the season 2010 with the Atlas Pro Tour – Open de Mogador.

The great new golf course of Mogador, designed by Gary Player, will be the host of this event from the 16th to the 19th of February 2010.

The Open de Mogador is co-sanctionned by the Alps Tour Golf and the Atlas Pro Tour. With a prize money of 60 000 euros, it is one of the biggest tournament of the year.

A field of 84 players from 15 countries will tee off, including 15 Moroccan players.

The winner of the Atlas Pro Tour – Open de Mogador will get a invitation to play the Moroccan Golf Classic, end of April, a Challenge Tour event.

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