| 9.3°C Dublin

'Confident' Canizares leads Benson in Morocco

Alejandro Canizares and Seve Benson maintained the status quo at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Hassan Trophy.

Canizares held a one-shot lead over Benson after a stunning opening 62 at Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir, the Spaniard carding 11 birdies and one bogey despite playing in the windier afternoon conditions.

And although Benson, who was named after the late five-time major winner Seve Ballesteros, briefly took over the lead yesterday as he followed on from his flawless 63, Canizares hit back to reclaim his slender advantage.

After reaching the turn in 36 with a birdie at the first cancelled out by a bogey on the second, Canizares birdied six of his next seven holes, only marring his card with a three-putt bogey on the 13th from long range.

Finding a fairway bunker on the 17th cost Canizares another bogey, but a second round of 68 gave him a halfway total of 14 under par, one ahead of Benson who had also carded a 68.

"I felt really confident so I was not thinking too much, I needed to let the golf happen," Canizares said.


"In some cases my putter was a little cold today but I kept it going on the back nine. It was a pity I bogeyed the 17th because that is a birdie hole but overall I am very happy to be leading at the moment and very excited."

Canizares' sole European Tour victory to date came in the Russian Open in 2006, while Benson is still looking for his first win.

Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello occupied third place on nine under after a 67 that threatened to be even better after covering his first nine holes in just 30 shots, but bogeys at the fifth and seventh halted his charge.