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Canizares chasing long awaited victory

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Eight years after claiming his debut European Tour title, halfway leader Alejandro Cañizares is hoping to return to winning ways at the Trophée Hassan II this weekend.

Cañizares won on only his third start as an affiliate member at the 2006 Russian Open, but has now played almost 200 events without adding a second trophy to his cabinet.

The 31 year old has already compiled two top ten finishes in 2014, and admits he has taken confidence from a strong showing at last season's Turkish Airlines Open, where he played alongside World Number One Tiger Woods in the penultimate group on Sunday.

"Thanks for reminding me!" He joked when reminded about the time since his last win.

"I feel great "“ my game is definitely there so I just need to get in the groove again. If I don't overthink things and just let them happen, hopefully I will continue to play well and enjoy the weekend.

Cañizares held a one-shot lead over England's Seve 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 conditions.

And although Benson, who was named after the late five-time Major winner Seve Ballesteros, briefly took over the lead on Friday morning as he followed on from his flawless 63, Cañizares hit back to reclaim his slender advantage.

Having reached the turn in 36 with a birdie at the first cancelled out by a bogey on the second, Cañizares birdied six of his next seven holes, with the blemish coming as the World Number 141 three-putted the 13th from long range.

Finding a fairway bunker on the 17th cost Cañizares 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," Cañizares said. "On some holes my putter was a little cold today, but I kept it going on the back nine.

"It was a pity I bogeyed the 17th because that is a birdie hole, but overall I am very happy to be leading at the moment and very excited for the weekend."

Benson is still looking for his first win after claiming three titles on the Challenge Tour, but the 27 year old is in fine form having dropped just one shot in 36 holes.

He said: "I managed to keep the momentum going early on 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 was yesterday, so it was a lot easier today."

Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello occupied third place on nine under after a 67 that threatened to be even better after covering his first nine holes in just 30 shots, but bogeys at the fifth and seventh halted his charge.

The leading Australian is South Australian Wade Ormsby who is in a share of 14th position although nine shots from the lead.

Scores after round 2:

130 A Cañizares (Esp) 62 68,
131 S Benson (Eng) 63 68,
135 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 68 67,
136 M Carlsson (Swe) 65 71, D Horsey (Eng) 72 64, C Arendell (USA) 65 71,
137 G Bourdy (Fra) 68 69,
138 R Karlsson (Swe) 71 67, T Fleetwood (Eng) 66 72, M Hoey (Nir) 68 70, J Morrison (Eng) 69 69, G Coetzee (RSA) 69 69, M Siem (Ger) 69 69,
139 R Derksen (Ned) 69 70, R Rock (Eng) 71 68, M Warren (Sco) 66 73, W Ormsby (Aus) 68 71, A Sullivan (Eng) 66 73, R Bland (Eng) 69 70,
140 G Bhullar (Ind) 67 73, J Campillo (Esp) 71 69, D Drysdale (Sco) 73 67,
141 R Davies (Wal) 68 73, S Dodd (Wal) 68 73, D Howell (Eng) 72 69, P Waring (Eng) 72 69, S Kapur (Ind) 70 71,
142 R Dinwiddie (Eng) 71 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 71, D Willett (Eng) 72 70, E Goya (Arg) 73 69, F Fritsch (Ger) 72 70, M Ilonen (Fin) 69 73, A Levy (Fra) 70 72, D Brooks (Eng) 72 70, L Bjerregaard (Den) 69 73,
143 G Havret (Fra) 72 71, E Dubois (Fra) 68 75, T Lewis (Eng) 69 74, R Kakko (Fin) 70 73, R Ramsay (Sco) 72 71, S Hansen (Den) 74 69, D McGrane (Irl) 70 73, S Dyson (Eng) 73 70, R Fisher (Eng) 70 73, R Green (Aus) 70 73, E Molinari (Ita) 73 70, M Kieffer (Ger) 71 72, M Tullo (Chi) 74 69,

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