European PGA Tour

Canizares remains on top in Morocco

Agadir, Morocco (SportsNetwork.com) - Alejandro Canizares carded a 4-under 68 on Friday to maintain his 1-stroke lead at the Trophee Hassan II.

Canizares, whose lone victory on the European Tour came at the 2006 Russian Open, finished 36 holes at Golf du Palais Royal at 14-under-par 130.

"I feel great. My game is definitely there so I just need to get in the groove again," said Canizares. "If I don't overthink things and just let them happen, hopefully I will enjoy the weekend."

Seve Benson also shot a 68 to remain a shot off the pace at 13-under, while Rafael Cabrera-Bello (67) is alone in third at minus-9.

David Horsey fired the low round of the day with an 8-under 64 to vault into a share of fourth with Magnus A. Carlsson (71) and Conner Arendell (71) at 8- under 136.

Canizares opened his day with a birdie at the first, but tripped to a bogey at the second to fall back to 10-under. He would par his next seven holes to remain there before doing all of his scoring on the back nine.

He started with three straight birdies from the 10th to race to 13-under, but gave a shot back with a bogey at the 13th.

Canizares then reeled off another hat trick of gains from the 14th to reach 15-under before again snapping the streak with a bogey at the 17th. He parred the last to end at 14-under.

"In some cases, my putter was a little cold today, but I kept it going on the back nine," Canizares said. "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 followed a trio of opening pars with back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth.

A bogey at the eighth dropped him to 10-under at the turn, but he got that shot back with a birdie at the 12th.

After parring his next three holes, the Englishman recorded consecutive birdies at the 16th and 17th to reach 13-under. He also parred the last to remain within a shot of the lead entering the weekend.

Cabrera-Bello started on the back nine and eagled the 10th to jump to 6-under. He later rolled in three straight birdies from the 13th before closing an outward 30 with a birdie at the 18th.

Another gain at the third moved him to 11-under, but he would bogey the fifth and seventh to fall back to 9-under.

NOTES: Canizares' win came in just his third start as an affiliate member on tour ... Benson is searching for his first win on the European Tour ... Graeme Storm recorded a hole-in-one at the 16th. It was the second ace of the tournament after Alexander Levy had a hole-in-one on the second Thursday.

03/14 15:31:23 ET

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