Jordan Smith and Lee Slattery one off lead at Trophee Hasson II
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 26/04/19 9:43pm
English duo Jordan Smith and Lee Slattery stayed firmly in contention at the halfway stage of the Trophee Hassan II after scores soared on a blustery second day in Morrocco.
Overnight leader Smith went bogey-free in his opening 66 but required 10 more shots to complete his second round in difficult conditions at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, carding his fifth bogey of the day at the last to slip one stroke behind Sean Crocker and David Lipsky.
Slattery dug deep to grind out a one-under 72 to join the tie for second alongside Smith, Julian Suri and Dimitrios Papadatos, while defending champion Alexander Levy was among the players to miss the cut by two shots after rounds of 75 and 77.
Crocker performed admirably as he recovered from a horrendous start in which he dropped four shots over the first six holes, making birdies at the seventh and eighth only to give both shots back shortly after the turn.
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But the Challenge Tour graduate birdied 15 and then pitched in for an eagle-two at the 17th as he salvaged a 74 which left him tied at the top on five under with Lipsky, who returned a commendable five-birdie 70 on a day in which only three players managed a score in the 60s.
"We're going into the weekend looking pretty good," said Lipsky, who won his second European Tour title in the final event of 2018 and is aiming to chalk up a ninth American win in 19 events on the Race to Dubai this season.
"Everything about this course tests your patience, it's really tight off the tee, the greens are tricky, with the wind swirling round it's tough so you just have to be patient out here."
Smith struggled to combat the element early on and bogeyed two of the first three holes before dropping another at the seventh, although he made a positive start to the back nine when he set up a tap-in for his first birdie of the round.
He offset another bogey at 14 with a birdie at the 16th, but he got into more trouble at the long finishing hole and ran up a six to close on four under, while Slattery ended his round on a high note as he holed a good putt for a birdie two at the ninth.
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Suri looked a likely halfway leader with he made three birdies in four holes on the back nine and then responded to an error at the third with further gains at the fifth and eighth which lifted him to six under, but he then found water at the ninth and could not avoid a double-bogey which tarnished a second-straight 71.
Erik Van Rooyen was one of the trio of players to break 70 as he mixed seven birdies with three bogeys in his 69 which hoisted him to three under with the likes of Alejandro Canizares and Kenya Open champion Guido Migliozzi.
Former Ryder Cup star Victor Dubuisson also eagled the 17th in his 70, the Frenchman closing on one under as only 21 of the 156 starters completed 36 holes under the card.