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Mena Tour: Faycal Serghini looking to break jinx

Dubai: Faycal Serghini will champion the self-belief he has in his game to end a run of near-misses when he competes in the Mena Golf Tour’s Royal Dar Es Salaam Open in Rabat, Morocco, this week.

The leading Moroccan professional flirted with success in last week’s Royal D’Anfa Open but just missed out on sealing an elusive victory when he lost to England’s Joshua White by one shot despite leading by four strokes with four holes to play on the final day.

“It was nice while it lasted, but I am getting close, very close,” said Serghini, who also settled for second place in the 2013 Mena Golf Tour Championship in Al Ain after leading by five shots overnight. “I think it is just a matter of time before my time comes. The door will open sooner or later.”

Learning from each of his near misses, Serghini has become the kind of player who can be counted on to contend week-in, week-out.

“I have made some swing changes, which are working,” said the Moroccan, who joins a strong field led by defending champion Zane Scotland, who will be making a run at his seventh title on tour. “More importantly, I have the self-belief in my game which is the key.”

With Younus Al Hassani, who finished runner-to Scotland here last year, rookie pro Ahmad Marjan and Mustafa Al Maouas also in the fray, the local challenge will increase the competitive edge in their home events. Adding to their campaign is the incentive offered by the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award, which recognises the top-three Arab amateur and professional performances.

In Mohammedia, Serghini, Marjan and Amine Joudar shared the $3,000 (Dh11,019) purse after finishing among top three in that order, with Serghini receiving an additional $1,500 on top of the overall runner-up cheque of $6,000.

England’s James Allan emerged as the runaway winner on a one-under 215 in the amateur division at the Royal D’Anfa Open with Morocco’s Mohammad Khallali taking second on a six-over 222, which was good enough for him to secure top honours in the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award Amateur division, which earned him a gift voucher worth $500.

Fast-improving Ayoub Lguirati finished on a seven-over 223, but veteran Moroccan professional Mohammad Makroune believes Lguirati is a talented prospect with an exciting career ahead of him.

With 25 amateurs, including 19 from Morocco, in the field, competition in the division could throw up a few surprises.