Saddier out in front in Agadir

European Tour

World No 602 Adrien Saddier shot a seven-under-par 65 to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Trophee Hassan II.

The Frenchman lost his full playing privileges on the European Tour last season and is making only his second start of the year after missing the cut at the Joburg Open a month ago.

Saddier chipped in for eagle on the first hole at Golf du Palais Royal and never looked back, adding five more birdies in a bogey-free round.

That gave him a one-shot lead over Englishman Daniel Gaunt, who looked set to equal his score before a bogey at the last dropped him back down to six under.

“I’m very happy – I was very grateful to get an invite to play here,” said Saddier, who handed his invite back when he managed to sneak into the field on Monday.

“This place is just unbelievable. I played very solid today – I had a chip in for eagle on the first then another chip in on six, so it was a great start and I kept it going.

“I just have a little category on The European Tour so I will be focused on The Challenge Tour this year.

“I played last week in Madeira and although the tournament was cancelled I was playing well in the strong wind so I’m in good shape for this week.

“It’s almost my best round; I shot 64 in Qatar last year, which was eight under, so this is one of my best rounds.

“If I could get a win it would change my schedule as at the moment I’m playing on the Challenge Tour – I just need to focus on each shot now and see what happens.”

South African George Coetzee, Scotland’s David Drysdale and English pair Daniel Gaunt and Chris Wood share third place on five under, two back.

Coetzee, a winner at the Tshwane Open a couple of weeks ago, is one of a number of players needing a big performance this week in order to qualify for the Masters.

A large group lie on four after opening 68s, including Oliver Wilson, Soren Kjeldsen, Anthony Wall and Marcel Siem.

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