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Friday, 14 March 2014
Alejandro Canizares  (Getty Images)
Alejandro Canizares (Getty Images)
Alejandro Cañizares and Seve Benson maintained the status quo at the top of the leaderboard midway through the second round of the Trophée Hassan II.

Cañizares held a one-shot lead over Benson after a stunning opening 62 at Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir, the Spaniard carding 11 birdies and one bogey despite playing in the windier afternoon conditions.

And although Benson, who was named after the late five-time Major winner Seve Ballesteros, briefly took over the lead this morning as he followed on from his flawless 63, Cañizares hit back to reclaim his slender advantage.

After reaching the turn in 36 with a birdie at the first cancelled out by a bogey on the second, Cañizares birdied six of his next seven holes, the blemish coming as the World Number 141 three-putted the 13th from long range.

Finding a fairway bunker on the 17th cost Cañizares another bogey, but a second round of 68 gave him a halfway total of 14 under par, one ahead of Benson who had also carded a 68.

"I felt really confident so I was not thinking too much, I needed to let the golf happen," Cañizares said. "In some cases my putter was a little cold today but I kept it going on the back nine.

"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."

Cañizares' sole European Tour victory to date came in only his third start at the Russian Open in 2006, while Benson is still looking for his first win after claiming three titles on the Challenge Tour.

The 27 year old from Guildford has dropped just one shot in 36 holes and said: "I managed to keep the momentum going early doors through the tough holes and once I got through those I could press on a bit.

"There was no wind for the first eight or nine holes, which made it a totally different golf course compared to yesterday. It picked up a little on the back nine but nothing to what it was yesterday so it was a lot easier today."

Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello occupied third place on nine under after a 67 that threatened to be even better after covering his first nine holes in just 30 shots, but bogeys at the fifth and seventh halted his charge.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CAÑIZARES, AlejandroESP18-19
2SULLIVAN, AndyENG18-14
T3CARLSSON, Magnus ASWE18-12
T3BENSON, SeveENG18-12
T5CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-11
T5BLAND, RichardENG18-11

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