News, News 2023

Stephen Ames charts a steady course for the men, Maja Stark takes first place for the women

On the Red course, Stephen Ames maintains his  leadership position at the 47th edition of the Hassan II Trophy, after a great start on Thursday. On Friday  for the second round, the Canadian handed in a card of 70 strokes, or 3 under par, bringing his total to -9, three strokes ahead of the competition. A lead that could have been greater had it not been for the two bogeys conceded by Ames on holes 2 and 14. “I am very happy with my day, said the Trinidad and Tobago native. It was long and tedious, 5 hours and 10 minutes. So it was much more an exercise in patience than anything else.” But Ames’ determination to seek a third PGA Tour Champions title appears intact, as does the process. “I will try to keep doing the same. Continuing to have the same thoughts I’ve had for 4 days, which is good. Have the same focus. »

Behind Ames, comes the Australian Mark Hensby who moved up to second place, thanks to the best performance of the day. A resounding score of 67 shots (6 under par), including an eagle on 17. Hensby, however, keeps his feet firmly on the ground. “On each hole, you really have to hit the right place and you really don’t know what can happen,” says the man who had seriously considered retiring, before changing his mind shortly before the start of the season. Hensby shares second place with Englishman Paul Broadhurst (70 shots, 3 under par) who brings his total to -6. The only other card under the 70 strokes mark recorded on Friday went to Swede Robert Karlsson (69 strokes, 4 under par).

The Red course, renowned for its hardness and bewitching landscape, was therefore no exception to the rule. Speaking on his experience on the Red course, legend Jim Furyk with his 17 professional titles said: “The course has changed a lot and it has become much more difficult. Each course has its own characteristics, but this one reminds me a bit of California, in the United States. The route is very beautiful. The bunkers are dramatic with its high sidewalls and the greens are very, very challenging. They are very tough.” You heard it from the legend!

On the Blue course, a Swede can outshine another. Maja Stark took the lead, scoring an excellent 67 strokes (6 under par) at the end of the second round of the 26th edition of the Lalla Meryem Cup. Hardly 23 years old, the winner of 5 titles on the Ladies European Tour did not concede any shots above par, she rather got 6 birdies which bring her total to -8. But Stark, who finished second at the end of the Race to Costa del Sol 2022, is not fully satisfied. “The start of the day was long. I could have made more putts on the first nine holes. I think I made longer putts at the end of a stress-free day,” Stark said.

Ranking second, Aditi Ashok kept up the pace, with a card of 71 strokes (-2). Victorious in the first event of the season on the LET, Ashok will try to make up for the strokes she has behind Stark. Leader on Thursday evening, Sweden’s Linnea Ström conceded 5 bogeys on Friday and fell to rank third. Yet another proof that the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course can be merciless.