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Davies shares lead through two rounds Clarke one back

European Tour

AGADIR, Morocco – Defending champion Rhys Davies of Wales shot a 1-under 70 Friday to take a share of the lead after the second round of the Trophee Hassan II.

Darren Clarke carded a 3-under 69 and sits one off the lead.

Davies is looking for his first top-20 finish of the season and overcame strong winds as he mixed two birdies with a bogey.

“I’m not feeling any pressure despite being defending champion this week,” the 25-year-old Davies said. “I just feel very relaxed. “I’ve been working hard on my swing with my coach, trying to match up my arm swing with my body swing, and it’s getting there. … It’s quite hard to do it in this wind though.”

Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, who is chasing his first victory on the European Tour, carded a 69 to sit tied with Davies on 6-under 137. Luiten had two double bogeys on the front nine but made up for his shaky start with seven birdies, four of them on the last six holes.

Luiten said he struggled to cope with the wind on the first nine holes but was pleased with his score.

“I was good on the back nine with four birdies so that kept me going,” said Luiten. “It was a pretty hard day and you needed to be very straight off the tee.”

Nine players were clustered in a tie for third, one stroke back, and just two shots separate the top 17 players heading into Saturday’s third round.

Overnight leader Peter Lawrie of Ireland followed up his 64 from Thursday with a 76 to sit three strokes behind.

The first two rounds were played on the Golf De L’Ocean course and Golf du Palais Royal course.