Canadian Stephen Ames shot a 9-under-par 63 on Thursday to take a four-stroke lead after the first round of the Morocco Champions in Marrakech.
Ames eagled the 579-yard par-5 fifth hole and carded eight birdies and one bogey at the Samanah Golf Club.
This is the first PGA Tour-sanctioned stroke-play event to be contested on the continent of Africa.
The 55-year-old Ames tied a course record set by England’s Daniel Brooks during the 2009 Samanah Masters. Ames’ lone Champions victory came at the 2017 Mitsubishi Electric Classic.
Four of the tour’s biggest stars are tied for second place at 5 under, including Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, Germany’s Bernhard Langer and South Africa’s Retief Goosen.
Australia’s Rod Pampling and four Americans — Tom Pernice Jr., Ken Tanigawa, Scott Parel and Kevin Sutherland — are tied for sixth after opening with rounds of 4-under 68.
Defending Charles Schwab Cup winner and 2019 Player of the Year Scott McCarron is tied for 28th at 1 under.
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, winner of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Hawaii, is among a large group tied for 18th at 2 under.
–Field Level Media