Fond memories and past form at a tournament can do a lot for a golfer, even during those times when there seems to be no end to the struggle. Having golf clubs to play with can also help.
In the opening round of the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Morocco, Michael Hoey channeled the memories of lifting the trophy six years ago to card a much-needed good round on the European Tour using a replacement set of clubs after his had been lost in transit on the way to Rabat.
The 39-year-old from Belfast held off Damien McGrane to take the title in 2012, albeit at the Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir. What he would do to win that title again, secure his European Tour playing rights and end a five-year winless spell which has seen him relegated to the Challenge Tour in recent times.
And perhaps it is fate after his wife flew from Belfast to London on Wednesday to pick up a second set of clubs before flying to Casablanca with them and then getting a taxi to Rabat so that her husband would be able to play this week.
Hoey has made just one cut this year – finishing tied 18th at the Kenya Open on the Challenge Tour last month – but, after one round at the trecherously difficult Par 72 which has undergone a revamp over the last year, he sits two off the lead held by Bradley Dredge and Alvaro Quiros after a round of 69, three under par.
Hoey’s win seven years ago made him the second Irishman to lift the trophy after Pádraig Harrington emerged victorious in 2007 while Paul Dunne came within a playoff of becoming the third last year as he was pipped by Edoardo Molinari.
After his second place finish at the Open de Espana on Sunday, Dunne came into this week as the favourite for the first time in his career. And he was well on his way to justifying that tag in the first round, getting within two of the lead through 12 holes before it all unravelled when the Greystones man dropped four shots in the next three holes.
A double bogey at the 13th was followed by back-to-back bogeys which saw Dunne slip back to two over par. However, a birdie at the 197-yard Par 3 17th pulled him back to one over and within six of the lead after a round of 73.
For Hoey it was a much smoother route towards the top of the leaderboard as he made birdies at the third and the eighth to go out in two under par.
His only dropped shot of the day came at the 10th before further birdies at the 12th and 15th saw him end the day just two off the lead of five under.
For Gavin Moynihan the struggles continued with a round of 77, five over par after he carded seven bogeys and two birdies.