France’s Adrien Saddier, ranked 602nd in the world, fired an eagle on his first hole and kept on coming, finishing with a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead at the Trophee Hassan II being held in Agadir, Morocco.
Saddier added two birdies on the front nine and three more on the back nine to lead the field by a stroke over England’s Daniel Gaunt, whose 66 was hampered by a bogey on 18 that interrupted a run of three straight birdies.
A trio of players ranked inside the Race to Dubai’s top 40 are all within three strokes of the lead. Tied for third is South Africa’s George Coetzee – currently 15th in the Dubai standings and ranked 69th in the world. Coetzee fired a 5-under 67, and would have been tied for the lead except for a double-bogey 5 on the par-3, 200-yard No. 8.
Part of a nine-way tie for sixth at 4-under are England’s Anthony Wall and Germany’s Marcel Siem.
England’s Andy Sullivan, who needs to finish first or second to qualify for a spot in The Masters in two weeks, struggling to a 2-over 74 hampered by five bogeys. He is tied for 78th.