Sitting nine shots off the lead after the opening round, Titleist ambassador Michael Hoey must have thought his chances of a win at the Trophee Hassan II were slim at best.
However, three subsequent rounds of 67, 65 and 65 rocketed him to the top of the leaderboard and a three shot victory with a 17-under 271 total. The 33-year old Northern Irishman recorded his fourth European Tour title and picked up a stunning jewelled dagger as his trophy.
The win also moves Hoey (Pro V1x, 901 D3 8.5, 910F 13.5, 910H 18.0, AP2 irons 3-PW, Vokey Design SM4 Sand and Lob wedges) into the top 15 in the Race To Dubai, as well as putting him well in the hunt for a Ryder Cup place later this year.
“I was actually thinking that I might struggle to make the cut after shooting two over in the first round but I started swinging the club really well and the confidence was there so it was great to back that up with the scores too," said Michael. "The second round was a good 67 and then to shoot two 65s over the weekend was pretty special really.”
Pro V1 loyalist Jamie Donaldson shot a course-record 61 to share third place at 13-under 275 with Titleist ambassador Phillip Price (Pro V1x) and Robert Coles (Pro V1x). Donaldson played the back nine first in 28, only one off the European Tour record, with two eagles and four birdies, then turned for home with another birdie to be at 9-under for his first ten holes. The 61 equalled Donaldson's lowest round ever.
Titleist was the overwhelming ball of choice at the Trophee Hassan II with 70 players, more than three times the nearest competitor.
Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour, it was a Titleist 1-2-3 finish at the Kia Classic, where Pro V1x loyalist Yani Tseng recorded her second straight victory and her third in five events. Tseng, who led wire-to-wire, closed with with a 2-under 70 for a 14-under 274 total, six shots clear of runner-up Sun Young Yoo (Pro V1).
With her victory, the 23-year-old Tseng becomes the second-youngest player to reach 15 LPGA Tour victories. Shanshan Feng (Pro V1x) shot a 5-under 67, the lowest round of the day, to tie for 3rd with Pro V1 loyalist Jiyai Shin at 7-under 281. Of the 11 players who tied for 10th or beter at the Kia Classic, 9 trusted a Titleist golf ball for their success.
Again, Titleist was the overwhelming ball of choice with 98 players placing their trust in Pro V1 or Pro V1x, compared to 13 for the nearest competitor.
Elsewhere, Australian Nick Cullen sealed his first OneAsia Tour victory after finishing with a 9-under total of 279. But it was far from smooth sailing for the Titleist staffer. Holding a four shot lead with five holes to play, Cullen (Pro V1x, 910D2 driver, 910F fairway metal, 910H hybrid, AP2 irons, Vokey Design SM4 approach, sand and lob wedges) carded a seven on the par 4 14th.
Finding himself tied with David Smail (Pro V1x, 910D3 driver, MB irons, Vokey Design SM4 pitching, sand and lob wedges), Cullen holed a clutch 20-foot putt for birdie on the par-5 17th to regain sole possession of the lead. He then got up-and-down for par on 18, finishing one shot clear of Smail.
Three players finished tied for 3rd at 7-under 281, including Pro V1x loyalist Michael Long.