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Nick Dougherty leads after round one in Morocco

FIRST ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-7 N Dougherty (Eng) -6 P Lawrie (Ire), F Molinari (Ita), R Gonzalez (Arg), S Gallacher (Sco), F Zanotti (Par), S Chowrasia (Ind) Selected others: -3 D Clarke (NI), P McGinley (Ire)


Nick Dougherty
Dougherty last won on the European Tour in June 2009

Englishman Nick Dougherty carded a seven-under-par 66 for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Hassan II Trophy in Rabat on Thursday.

Dougherty, 27, fired an eagle and seven birdies on the red course at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to finish one stroke ahead of a group of six players.

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Italy's Francesco Molinari both carded 66 on the par-72 shorter blue course.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland is three under after a 69.

"It was a little bit of a battle on the front nine," said Dougherty, whose last of three wins on the European Tour came at last year's BMW International Open.

"I have been struggling a little bit with my game. Thomas Bjorn gave me a little bit of help on the range yesterday which meant the world to me and it's a work in progress.

"I played some really good stuff today and my short game was great in general. I'm very pleased with the score but there's still a bit of work to do on my game."

Former Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley was three over for his round in his first event since a knee operation at the end of last year.

The Hassan II Trophy is making its debut on the European Tour.

The opening two rounds are a pro-am on the red and blue courses before the tournament continues with professionals only on the red course.



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