Van Zyl grabs early Morocco lead

Bradley Dredge was fastest out his blocks at the Trophée Hassan II, but it was Jaco van Zyl who grabbed the clubhouse lead.

Bradley Dredge was fastest out the blocks as the Trophée Hassan II began in Morocco on Thursday, but it was the South African surprise package Jaco van Zyl who grabbed the early lead in the clubhouse midway through the day.

Dredge was the one the quickest of the front runners and with a 2-under 33 at the turn, led the morning field as it started moving into the second nine on the two courses in play, Golf du Palais Royal and Golf de L’Océan.

He surged clear even more quickly , heading home on his inward run with a birdie at the 1st, his 11th, and an eagle at the next, but he lost some of his momentum on the closing stretch with a bogey-birdie-double bogey stumble and it was Van Zyl, playing Golf du Palais, who was the first to lead in the clubhouse when he closed his opening round with a six-birdie, two bogey 4-under 68.

At this stage blast from the past Michael Campbell, looking a lot more like the US Open champion he was half a dozen years ago, was lying a shot back in a second place tie in the clubhouse after shooting a 3-under 69, also at Golf du Palais.

Since his 2005 US Open triumph at Pinehurst, Campbell has fallen to 827th in the Official World Golf Ranking and made only one cut last season.

He has also featured on the weekend only once to date in 2011 – at the Sicilian Open two weeks ago – but four birdies in an outward 33 suggested that the struggling Kiwi may be starting to put his chronic injury problems behind him.”

At this stage, the South African is at the top of a leaderboard that will still be under attack for much of the afternoon from players like American Jason Knutzen, who was at 3-under after 16 holes, and Richard Bland, who was 3-under after just six holes.