Francesco Laporta needed just 20 putts to get around the Red Course at Royal Golf dar es Salam on Thursday in Rabat, Morocco.
The Italian missed only three putts in his opening, shooting 4-under 68 to earn a share of the first-round lead at the Trophee Hassan II. France’s Thomas Linard and Australa’s Jason Scrivener also opened with 68.
Laporta, a rookie on the European Tour this season, earned the 15th card at Q-School in November, but has made just one cut so far this season. He started his round with bogeys on the second and third holes before making birdies on the fifth, ninth, 10th and 18th holes, and carding an eagle at No. 12.
“I played very badly for the first five events, but last week in Madrid on the Challenge Tour was much better,” Laporta said. “I finished fourth and took a lot of confidence from the week, so hopefully that has turned my season around.”
Scrivener has had a much different start to his season, missing just one cut in nine events. He was 117th in the Race To Dubai last season as a rookie and had to regain his card via Q-School. Linard finished ninth last season on the European Challenge Tour.
Five golfers sit a shot back, including Estanislao Goya.