Alejandro Canizares of Spain had 11 birdies in a 10-under round of 62 to take a one-stroke lead over Seve Benson of England after the first round of the Trophee Hassan II on Thursday.
Canizares mastered the windy conditions at the Golf du Palais Royal course in Agadir for the lowest round of his European Tour career, and it would have been even better if not for a bogey on the third hole.
“It was one of those days for me, my swing felt great, I started putting well and the putts went in. It was a lot of fun, when golf is like this it’s easy,” Canizares said. “I missed a couple of drives and from the fairway I missed one shot that cost me a bogey, but that was about it.”
Benson, who was named after the late Seve Ballesteros, had nine birdies to stay two shots clear of American Connor Arendell and Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson, who were tied at 7 under.
“It was so windy out there on the back nine, but I just managed to play the tough holes well and sink some putts,” Benson said. “Capitalizing on my chances is the big thing for me. I have been working really hard with my putting coach, and it paid off today.”
Arendell finished eighth at Qualifying School in November to earn his card for this season, but he missed the cut in his first four events.
“It’s huge, coming over here getting that experience, the traveling; week to week the courses vary quite a bit compared to the U.S.,” said Arendell, who played at Central Florida. “It’s tough, but over time it will make it that much easier when I’m in the U.S.”