GRANT FORREST'S TOP 20 FINISH IN MOROCCO EARNS HIM $552
By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Rookie pro Grant Forrest, former Walker Cup player and past Scottish amateur champion from the Craigielaw club, finished joint 17th and earned $552 in the MENA Tour's Royal Golf Mohammedia Open at Royal Golf D'Anfa, Mohammedia in Morocco.
Forrest had rounds of 72, 68 and 72 for a total of one-under-par 212 at the par-71 lay-out.
The Scot finished eight strokes behind the winner, an amateur from the Netherlands, Pierre Verlaar who shot rounds of 69, 70 and 65 for nine-under 204 to win by two strokes.
Jack McDonald from Troon was the second best Scot in joint 31st place on 216 (72-74-70).
The only other Scot who made it through to the final day, Jamie Savage, finished T36 on 217.
ROYAL GOLF MOHAMMEDIA OPEN
Royal Golf D'Anfa, Mohammedia, Morocco
par 213 (3x71)
204 Pierre Verlaar (Ned) (amateur) 69 70 65
206 Ahmed Marjan (Mor) 70 68 68, Andrew Marshall (Eng) 74 67 65 ($6,000 each).
212 Grant Forrest 72 68 72 (T17) ($552).
216 Jack McDonald 72 74 70 (T31) ($344).
217 James S Savage 72 74 71 (T36) ($288)
MISSED THE CUT (146 and better qualified)
147 Jack Doherty 77 70.
148 Clarke Lutton 73 75, Danny Kay 74 74.
149 Daniel Hendry 77 72.
Flying Dutch amateur wins by two
By VIREN VARMA
MOHAMMEDIA (Morocco) — Pierre Junior Verlaar conjured a piece of magic on the front nine to win the MENA Tour’s Royal Golf Mohammedia Open in style at Royal Golf D'Anfa Club today.
Starting the final day three shots off the pace, the 18-year-old Dutch prodigy blistered the outward nine with six birdies en route to a bogey-free 65 to reach nine-under for the tournament, beating Morocco’s Ahmed Marjan and England’s Andrew Marshall by two shots.
With this convincing victory, Verlaar became the second amateur after India’s Dubai-based Rayhan Thomas to win a MENA Golf Tour event. His closing 65 also matched the lowest final round by a winner, tying England’s Joe Heraty’s round at the 2016 Sahara Kuwait Championship.
“I am really very, very happy with the way I finished against a strong field. I think I played some amazing golf on the front nine,” said Verlaar after receiving the winner’s trophy from Fouad Akasbi, president of Royal Golf D’Anfa and Vice President of the Royal Moroccan Golf Federation.
“I may not have picked up a shot on the back nine, but played very steady. The MENA Tour is doing a great job in providing a perfect platform for amateurs likes me to compete alongside professionals which is great,” said Verlaar, who joined the tour last year.
The experienced Marshall, who started the final round a good five shots behind, matched Verlaar’s closing 65 to surge up the leaderboard as Marjan, the only Arab winner on the MENA Tour, topped the MENA Division, one shot ahead of his compatriot Mohamed Belaroussia.
Overnight leader Lee Corfield of England slipped to tied eighth on four under after carding a final round 73 while Zane Scotland, a 10-time winner on the tour, moved into a six-way tie for 43rd after closing with a 75 along with Danny Poulter, the elder brother of European Ryder Cup hero Ian.
Elsewhere, former England cricketer Craig Kieswetter settled for 52nd on 10 over after signing for a 77 as Craig Hinton, the winner of the 2016 MENA Tour Order of Merit title, settled for tied 50th on seven over, six shots ahead of India’s Rayhan Thomas, who carded a final round 79.
The next event on the MENA Tour schedule is the Ras Al Khaimah Classic to be held at Tower Links Golf Club from April 24 to 26.