Stephen Ames carded a 6-under-par 67 to seize a three-stroke lead after the first round of the Trophy Hassan II on Thursday in Rabat, Morocco.
Ames recorded eight birdies against two bogeys at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to find himself with at least a share of the lead after the first round for the sixth time in his Champions career. Unfortunately for the Canadian, he has yet to convert those leads into tournament victories.
“Hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of good iron shots and made some putts obviously, that’s the key here,” Ames said. “I didn’t three-putt, which is good. I think that was a good motive for the week, I guess, is to try and not three-putt too many times.”
Ames, who is seeking his third win on the Champions Tour, answered a bogey on No. 3 to post four birdies over his next seven holes. He also had a bogey on No. 11 before finishing with three birdies over his final seven holes.
Ames’ last win came in the 2021 Principal Charity Classic.
England’s Paul Broadhurst (70) had six birdies against three bogeys to reside in a tie for second place with Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Americans Jeff Sluman and defending champion Brett Quigley.
Broadhurst was asked what was working for him on Thursday.
“Everything really,” he said. “You know, if I missed the green, I chipped it fairly close. I mean, I played a really solid front nine, 3-under on the front was pretty good. I had a couple of chances and converted them. Made a good birdie on 9.”
Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, who won the tournament in 1997, and Americans Glen Day and Corey Pavin were tied for sixth after carding a 71.
German Bernhard Langer (72) resides in a seven-way tie for ninth place.
The 54-hole tournament is the first Champions Tour event to be held in Northern Africa since 2020.