Laporta keeps his nose in front
Italian rookie Francesco Laporta leads by one shot heading into the weekend at the Trophée Hassan II.
The 25-year-old started the day in a three-way tie for the lead with Jason Scrivener and Thomas Linard, but was the only man left at the top after Friday's second round on the challenging Red Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.
Laporta followed up a opening 68 with a two-under-par 70 to lead by one shot over Scrivener, Spaniard Borja Virto Astudillo and South Korea's Jeunghun Wang.
The Italian came through European Tour Qualifying School in November but struggled in the early part of the season, making just one of his first six cuts.
He returned to the Challenge Tour last week, finishing fourth at the Challenge de Madrid, and that top-10 finish appears to have done him a world of good.
Laporta took the sole lead on Friday after birdies at 10 and 12, but the wheels appeared to come off after a bogey and a double bogey at the 13th and 14th.
He recovered superbly, however, birdying four of his next six holes to lead by two shots, though a bogey at the eighth meant he ended the day only one shot in front.
"It's going to be exciting at the weekend," he said. "It should be a great experience and I'm looking forward to it.
Commenting on his round, Laporta added: "It was just a really solid display and I enjoyed it."
Virto Astudillo set the clubhouse target on five under par earlier in the morning after a two-under 70.
Scrivener joined the Spaniard after a 71, while Wang shot one of the best rounds of the day – a 68 – to join the duo in second place.
Lying on four under par are Daniel Im, Zander Lombard and Peter Lawrie, followed by Gary King and Adrien Saddier on three under.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.