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Friday, 01 April 2011
Rhys Davies  (Getty Images)
Rhys Davies (Getty Images)
Defending champion Rhys Davies moved into a share of the halfway lead with Joost Luiten - but just two shots separate the top 17 players after a dramatic second round of the Trophée Hassan II.

High winds led to a day of mixed scoring in the Moroccan city of Agadir, where the field have been split over the Golf De L'Océan and Golf Du Palais Royal courses in a pro-am format for the first two days.

Davies' victory 12 months ago kick-started an immensely impressive rookie campaign which culminated in the 25 year old Welshman finishing 18th in The Race to Dubai.

He has yet to record a top-20 finish in 2011, but Davies is very positive after shooting a one under 70 for a six under par 36-hole aggregate.

"I'm not feeling any pressure despite being defending champion this week," he said.

"It's a different golf course for one, and I just feel very relaxed. I'm enjoying the pro-am format and I had a great partner today - Masamichi Ito. He's a great player and has a great future ahead of him in golf.

"I've been working hard on my swing with my coach, trying to match up my arm swing with my body swing, and it's getting there. The hard work is starting to come off. It's quite hard to do it in this wind though."

Overnight leader Peter Lawrie was amongst those blown away by the testing conditions, his scintillating opening 64 followed by a five over 76.

Whereas Davies was a model of consistency with two birdies and a solitary bogey, Luiten produced a more varied scorecard.

The Dutchman double bogeyed both par threes on the front nine and dropped a shot at the ninth, but carded seven birdies in a 69 on the Golf De L'Océan layout.

"I was good on the back nine with four birdies so that kept me going," said Luiten, who is searching for a maiden European Tour title.

"It was tough today, really tough, especially on the front nine. The holes coming into the wind are very tricky.

"On the back nine the wind was less but there are some really tricky pin positions, so overall it was a pretty hard day and you needed to be very straight off the tee. I'm pleased with the score I've come away with.

"It's always good to be leading after two rounds but we are only halfway so there is a lot of work left to be done. But it's good to be up the board. It was fairly steady but I made two double bogeys so I definitely left some shots out there."

No fewer than nine players are one off the pace - most notably Finland's Mikko Ilonen, who matched Lawrie's course record-equalling 64 at Palais Royal.

“It was one of those days for me when I just felt that I couldn’t do anything wrong,” said Ilonen, who has recently be sidelined by appendicitis.

“Everything went right for me today after having a frustrating day yesterday. I only hit a couple of loose shots yesterday and ended up signing for three over whereas today I gave nothing away.”

He is joined on five under by English duo David Horsey and Robert Rock, Argentina's Julio Zapata, Swede Peter Hedblom, Indian pair Shiv Kapur and Jeev Milkha Singh, South African George Coetzee and Ryder Cup Vice Captain Darren Clarke, the Northern Irishman carding a second consecutive 69.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HORSEY, DavidENG18-13
T2VAN ZYL, JacoRSA18-13
T2DAVIES, RhysWAL18-13
4COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-11
T5GONNET, Jean-BaptisteFRA18-10
T5FLOREN, OscarSWE18-10
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