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Damien McGrane takes lead in Morocco after storm delay

Chip and pin: Irishman Damien McGrane hit four birdies to top the Trophee Hassan II leaderboard. Photograph: Getty Images

Chip and pin: Irishman Damien McGrane hit four birdies to top the Trophee Hassan II leaderboard. Photograph: Getty Images

DAMIEN McGrane and Phillip Price led the way as the second round of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco reached its delayed conclusion yesterday.

High winds meant five-and-a-half-hours’ of play was lost on day two, forcing many of the disgruntled competitors back onto the course to complete their second rounds yesterday.

Irishman McGrane, who shot an opening 65, was calmness personified following the interruption and kept his head despite the delay, hitting four birdies over the remaining 13 holes of his round to move to 11-under par, a stroke clear of Welshman Price.

Price, who followed up his opening 68 with a 66, was among those to complete their rounds on Friday.

Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara sits in third place on 9-under, while Joel Sjoholm of Sweden and Holland’s Joost Luiten were in a tie for fourth on 8-under.

The weather had also interrupted the flow of teenage sensation Matteo Manassero, who must win the tournament if he is to qualify for the year’s first major at Augusta next month.

Manassero was within six shots of the lead on Friday.

The 18-year-old world No.61, already a twice European Tour winner, fired three birdies and a bogey in his last five holes for a 2-under-par 70 and a 36-hole 5-under total of 139.

As high winds blasted the course, more than half the field suffered from suspended play and lost momentum in their challenges for the title.

One of those affected was Briton Robert Rock (145), who played his second round yesterday, but was among those to miss the cut which ruled out his chances of a Masters debut.

The world No.57 also needed a win to be assured of a place in the field at the Augusta National, but was left to curse a costly 11 on the par-four 4th hole during his first round on Thursday.

The top 50 ranked players in the world before the April 5-8 Masters are guaranteed entry.

 

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