-7 Alvaro Quiros
-6 Andrew Dodt
-5 Erik van Rooyen
-4 Austin Connelly, Bradley Dredge
Day two report
One week on from a missed cut in the Open de Espana, big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros holds the halfway lead in the Trophee Hassan II.
Quiros, who won in Sicily last year but has been out of sorts since, labelled his opening 67 one of the best rounds he’s played but had to work harder for a second-round 70, which has him seven-under and one ahead entering the weekend.
While Thursday’s round was largely controlled, the enigmatic Quiros mixed five bogeys with seven birdies on Friday and needed seven holes to so much as register a par, yet he remains the man to catch.
“I would love to say that I have control of my secret but I’m not able to say,” Quiros said during a commentary spell on Sky Sports. “Clearly I’m recovering a little bit of natural feel in my swing and now every single day of golf I need to recover a bit of confidence.
“A lot of times when I miss a shot, it’s not related straight to the swing movement, it’s more related to the fact that I’m not confident that things are going to come out as I want.
“It’s not going to change from one day to another but at least I have a little bit more peace in my mind with respect to the technique.”
Bradley Dredge, who shared the lead after round one, fell to a share of fourth with Canadian youngster Austin Connelly after a disappointing 73, which left the way clear for Australia’s Andrew Dodt to move into second.
Dodt made four birdies and an eagle in a seven-hole stretch from the eighth as a four-under 68 matched the best score of the day and saw him climb 10 places.
Third place belongs to in-play favourite Erik van Rooyen, who made just one bogey and two birdies in a quiet round of 71, while lurking in a share of sixth are French duo Alex Levy and Benjamin Hebert, plus England’s Paul Waring, contending in the event for the second year in succession.
Aaron Rai, tipped at 50/1 by Ben Coley, sits just one shot further back after a strong finish to his round.
Day one report
One year on from Edoardo Molinari’s victory in the Trophee Hassan, the prospect of another back-from-the-brink winner appears strong thanks to Bradley Dredge and Alvaro Quiros.
Dredge is winless since 2006 on the European Tour and arrived in Morocco searching for form, which he found in a seven-birdie 67 which had him tied for the lead with Quiros, who finished birdie-birdie to also shoot five-under.
Quiros ended a barren stretch of over five years when he won last season’s Rocco Forte Open, but the big-hitting Spaniard failed to build on that success and missed the cut on home soil last week.
The pair head into Friday tied for the lead and one ahead of a bunch which includes Oliver Fisher, who was second in Qatar earlier this spring, and Joakim Lagergren, who was second in the same event in 2017.
“I’m very pleased to be leading the tournament after round one,” Dredge said. “I played nicely all day. I’ve been lacking a bit of consistency and today I really drove it in play every hole and hit a lot of fairways. From there I gave myself a lot of chances.
“The course is in immaculate condition. It’s a matter of getting the ball in play and trying to be careful into the greens and understanding where the pin is and understanding where you can putt from and not putt from.
“I haven’t played a great deal this year [just three events before this week]. I feel as though it’s progressing quite well at the moment, so I’m quite pleased the way it’s trending, as a lot of guys say.”
England’s Lee Slattery and Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey are two behind having carded rounds of 69, with Ben Coley’s 100/1 selection Max Kieffer among those on two-under after birdies at three of his final five holes.
Hoey had his wife to thank for helping towards one of his best rounds in some time, after his clubs were lost in transit en route to Rabat.
The 39-year-old wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: “Today my Mrs flew from Belfast to London, drove to @TitleistEurope picked up clubs, drove to Heathrow, flew Royal air Maroc to Casablanca, picked up more clubs & taxied it to Rabat just So I could play, that’s commitment! Legend.”
Pre-tournament favourite Paul Dunne ran into trouble on the back-nine in a one-over-par 73 which was matched by former Masters champion Danny Willett, while it was a day to forget for Indian Open winner Matt Wallace after a round of 79.
Veteran duo Anthony Wall and Graeme Storm both withdrew following disappointing opening rounds while two other stalwarts of the European Tour set the early target at the demanding Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.