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Nick Dougherty leads with opening 66

Nick Dougherty shot an eagle and seven birdies on his way to a seven-under-par 66 for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Hassan II Trophy in Rabat on Thursday.

Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and Italian Francesco Molinari, playing on the blue course at Morocco’s Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, were among six players tied on six under.

“It was a little bit of a battle on the front nine,” Dougherty, who played the red course, was quoted as saying on the European Tour website (

“I have been struggling a little bit with my game. Thomas Bjorn gave me a little bit of help on the range yesterday which meant the world to me and it’s a work in progress.

“I played some really good stuff today and my short game was great in general. So I’m very pleased with the score but there’s still a bit of work to do on my game,” added the Englishman who blotted his card with bogeys at the fifth and seventh holes before eagling the par-five 10th.

Former Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley was three over for the round in his first event since a knee operation at the end of last year.

The Hassan II Trophy is making its debut on the European Tour. The opening two rounds are a pro-am on the red and blue courses. The tournament then continues with professionals only on the red course.



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