South Africans Trevor Fisher Jnr, Dylan Frittelli and Jaco Van Zyl are hot on the heels of France’s Gary Stal at the Trophée Hassan II with an opening 70 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.
The Frenchman has achieved just three top tens since beating Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer to the 2015 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship but was back on fine form on a testing day in Morocco.
Stal’s three under par total gave him a one-shot lead over countrymen Grégory Bourdy, Clément Sordet and Alexander Levy, South Africans Fisher Jnr, Frittelli and Van Zyl, Swede Pelle Edberg and England’s Max Orrin.
Starting on the tenth, Stal turned in 34 with birdies on the 12th, 13th and 18th, and when he also made a gain on the first he was out in front on his own.
He then bogeyed the second to drop to three under but a wonderful pitch to the par five eighth had him ahead again before a disappointing closing bogey.
Frittelli eagled the tenth and when he also made a birdie on the 12th, he had the lead at four under but dropped shots on the 16th and 17th saw him fall back.
Van Zyl had a single blemish on his card while Fisher Jnr made five birdies and three bogeys in his 71.