Canizares bouncing back in Morocco

It’s been eight years since Alejandro Canizares won his last European Tour title – but that could be set to change.

The Spaniard holds the halfway lead at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco after adding a four-under-par 68 to his brilliant opening 62 at Golf Palais du Royal in Agadir.

Canizares lies on 14 under par, and has separated himself from all but one in the field – Englishman Seve Benson, who shot a 68 of his own to lie just one shot adrift.

Benson is four strokes clear of the next competitor, Rafa Cabrera Bello, who carded a 67 on Friday.

After the Spaniard, three players share fourth place on eight under – Swede Magnus Carlsson (71), Englishman David Horsey (64) and young American Connor Arendell (71).

Leader Canizares has gone 200 events without a victory, after claiming his maiden triumph at the 2006 Russian Open in just his third start as an affiliate member.

He’s already had two top-10 finishes in 2014, and has taken confidence from his recent good form.

“Thanks for reminding me!” He joked after being reminded of the length of time since his last victory.

“I feel great; my game is definitely there so I just need to get in the groove again. If I don’t overthink things and just let them happen, hopefully I will enjoy the weekend.
“It’s very inspiring to play with the best player in the world, and you can only learn from experiences like that.”

Canizares’ round started relatively slowly, with an opening birdie cancelled out by a bogey on the very next hole, followed by seven straight pars.

But he caught fire after the turn, adding six more birdies and two bogeys for his 68.

“I felt really confident so I was not thinking too much, I needed to let the golf happen,” Cañizares 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 for the weekend.”

Benson, a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, is still chasing his first European Tour win.

“There was no wind for the first eight or nine holes, which made it a totally different golf course compared to yesterday. It picked up a little on the back nine but nothing to what it was yesterday so it was a lot easier today,” said Benson.