Agadir, Morocco (SportsNetwork.com) - Alejandro Canizares fired a 10-under 62 on Thursday and that gave him a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Trophee Hassan II.
Canizares, the 2006 Russian Open winner, has made the cut in all six of his starts and has a pair of top-10 finishes this year.
Seve Benson, who is winless on the European Tour, is one stroke off the lead as he carded a 9-under 63. Magnus A. Carlsson and Connor Arendell share third place at minus-7 at Golf du Palais Royal.
Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last year, opened with a 6-under 66. He was joined in fifth place by Marc Warren and Andy Sullivan, while Peter Whiteford and Gaganjeet Bhullar are one shot back at minus-5.
Canizares got off to a quick start as he birdied the 10th, his first. After a par on 11, he ran off four consecutive birdies from the 12th to soar up the leaderboard.
The Spaniard birdied the 17th to move to 6-under, and the 59 watch was on.
Canizares birdied the first and second to grab the lead at minus-8. However, his run at being the first tour member to shoot 59 was derailed when he bogeyed the par-4 third.
The 31-year-old bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 fifth. Canizares converted a birdie chance on the seventh and made it two in a row as he also birdied the eighth to move to 10-under. He parred the last to end there.
"It was one of those days for me, my swing felt great, I started putting well and the putts went in. It is a lot of fun when golf is like this, it's easy," said Canizares, who posted his career low score on the European Tour.
"After today, the confidence is great, but it wasn't there for the last month. After Dubai, I started losing a little bit of form, but this game is up and down, so you can't expect the best all the time."
Benson also played the back nine first on Thursday, and also opened with a birdie. He came back with birdies at 13 and 15 to move to minus-3.
The Englishman turned at 5-under after he birdied the 17th and 18th.
Benson started the his second nine with five pars in a row. He followed with four straight birdies to close out his round and get within one of Canizares.
"It felt pretty good to be honest. It was so windy out there on the back nine pars were a good score, but I just managed to play the tough holes well and sink some putts," Benson stated. "Capitalizing on my chances is the big thing for me. I have been working really hard with my putting coach and it paid off today."
NOTES: Canizares has led after the opening round three previous times, but failed to win any of those three ... Defending champion Marcel Siem opened with a 3-under 69 and is tied for 17th ... Alexander Levy had a hole-in-one on the par-3 second.