Ames holds on to 3-shot lead in Morocco

Ames holds on to 3-shot lead in Morocco

Stephen Ames fired a 3-under par 70 to maintain his spot at the top of the leaderboard following the second round of the Trophy Hassan II on Friday in Rabat, Morocco.

Australia’s Mark Hensby (67) and England’s Paul Broadhurst (70) were three strokes back at 6-under.

Ames’ round followed an opening-day 67 to stand at 9-under in the 54-hole tournament. In Round two, he bogeyed No. 2, then birdied four of the next 10 holes. He dropped a stroke at No. 14 but regained it with a birdie at No. 17.

Despite the bogey at the par-3 14th hole, Ames generally was encouraged by his day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.

“Keeping it — I guess try to keep it out of the trouble, hitting the ball in the right spots where I need to, taking the two-putts when I can, and then sometimes when the numbers are correct, I hit a good tee shot, a good second shot or tee shot in there and I make birdie,” the 58-year-old Canadian said, reviewing his first two rounds.

“My only hiccup today was the par 3. I three-putted, but other than that, I was very happy with my day. It was a very long and tedious day, five hours and 10 minutes, so that was basically more of a game of patience than anything else today.”

He has one victory on the Champions Tour after holding at least a share of the lead after the second round, winning at the 2017 Mitsubishi Electric Classic.

He led after Rounds 1 and 2 at the 2020 Morocco Champions event in Marrakesh but finished in second place.

Five shots back at 4-under and in fourth place are Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (73) and defending champion Brett Quigley (70).

Jeff Sluman shot a 73 and is alone in sixth place at 3-under, followed by the group of Paul Stankowski (70), Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie (74) and Paul Lawrie (75) tied for seventh place at 1-under.

Those are the only players under par on the par 73, 7,166-yard course, which players said has been tough to navigate.

Hensby said he wasn’t sure just what to credit for his 67, which was the low round on Friday. He mixed an eagle on the par-4 No. 17 with five birdies and a bogey.

“I don’t know, I just obviously got a good run going towards the end,” he said. “I hit a really good shot on 17 and made the putt; I think I made a really good putt on 15. So it’s a grind. Every hole you’ve got to really hit it in the right spots and you never know what’s going to happen out there, that’s for sure.”

Hensby, 51, is seeking his first Champions Tour win in 11 starts.

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