Alejandro Canizares and Seve Benson maintained the status quo at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Hassan Trophy yesterday.
Canizares 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.
Although Benson briefly took over the lead as he followed on from his flawless 63, Canizares 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, Canizares birdied six of his next seven holes, only marring his card with a three-putt bogey on the 13th from long range.
Finding a fairway bunker on the 17th cost Canizares 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,” Canizares told Sky Sports.
"It was a pity I bogeyed the 17th because that is a birdie hole but overall I am very . . . excited for the weekend."
Canizares played with Tiger Woods in the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open last November and although he struggled to a closing 73, hopes he can use that experience to his advantage.
"It was a great experience for me playing with the best in the game," said Canizares . "There was a lot of knowledge to be gained and I took it in the right way. "
Michael Hoey leads the Irish challenge on six under after a round of 70, while Damien McGrane (73) and Shane Lowry (72), on one under and level par respectively, will make the weekend's action.
On two over, Paul McGinley and Kevin Phelan just missed out, while Simon Thornton (three over), Peter Lawrie (five over) and David Higgins on eight over also bowed out .
Canizares's sole European Tour win to date came in 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
: "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 wa s . . . it was a lot easier today."
Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello occupied third place on nine under after a 67 but the best round of the day came from England's David Horsey, who won this event in 2011 . He carded a flawless 64 to lie eight under alongside Sweden's Magnus A Carlsson and American Connor Arendell.