CHAMP: Steve Pate holds 1-stroke lead after first round in Morocco

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Steve Pate carded a 6-under-par 67 on Thursday to seize a one-stroke lead at the Trophy Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco.

Pate is seeking his first PGA Tour Champions win. He recorded six birdies and an eagle on No. 18 to offset a double bogey on No. 4 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to hold the slim advantage over Australians Steve Allan and Mark Hensby.

Pate’s round matched the tournament-low 18-hole scoring record, set by Stephen Ames of Canada and Hensby in 2023. Ames won the event last year, with Hensby finishing second.

“It felt good for a while, hit a lot of good shots, made it twice from off the green, made some good putts,” Pate said. “Then hit some god-awful shots and got it up and down, made a double. I don’t know, there was some good and there was some smoke and mirrors.”

Like Pate, Allan also recorded an eagle on No. 18. The PGA Tour Champions Q-school qualifier also collected four birdies to overcome his lone blemish — a bogey on No. 11.

Not too shabby considering it was Allan’s first time playing the course.

“You know, (the greens are) not rolling super-fast, so I think they’re kind of pretty playable right now,” Allan said. The pins were in pretty fair positions; certainly some hard ones, but I was kind of lucky, when I missed it I was in a good spot. But they’re pretty demanding on your iron play, that’s for sure.”

Hensby recorded an eagle on No. 8 and four birdies to offset a bogey on No. 10.

“Yeah, yeah, I played well today,” Hensby acknowledged. “I didn’t finish as well as I’d like to, but I played well.”

Scott Parel and Ken Duke joined Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina in a tie for fourth place at 4-under, one stroke ahead of Y.E. Yang of South Korea and Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain.

Ames is tied for 17th at even par. He was awarded the win at the Chubb Classic on Sunday after the final round was canceled due to weather.

–Field Level Media

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