Front nine blues for Irish in Morocco
 Leader Alejandro Cañizares. Picture © Getty Images

Leader Alejandro Cañizares. Picture © Getty Images

Only Shane Lowry could conquer the front nine at Golf du Palais Royal as Michael Hoey, Damien McGrane, Paul McGinley and Kevin Phelan all suffered its barbs the second round of the Trophée Hassan II.

As Spain's Alejandro Cañizares added a 68 to his stunning first round 62 to lead by a shot from Seve Benson on 14 under par, only Hoey, McGrane and Lowry could make the one-over par cut.

Whether it was the first or second nine, all the Irish bar Lowry shot over par on the opening nine holes on the private course that Robert Trent Jones Snr designed for the King of Morocco on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Agadir.

The Clara man played the front nine last and came home in one under 35 with eight pars and a solitary birdie for a second successive 72 that left him tied for 50th on level par.

Hoey and McGrane also started at the 10th but while the Ulsterman came back in 38 after an outward 32 for a 70 that leaves him tied for eighth, eight behind Cañizares, McGrane lurched him in 40 for 73 that left him back in 37th spot on one-under.

For the rest of the Irish brigade, the front nine took an even more expensive toll.

European Ryder Cup skipper McGinley scorched over the back nine in five under 31 but a bogey at the fourth and a double bogey seven at the fifth in a homeward 39 for a 70 left him a shot outside the cut mark on two over.

Rookie Phelan also suffered the same fate, going out in an immaculate, four under 32 only to come back in 38. Like McGinley, he also took seven at the fifth to shoot 70 miss the cut by one but had the sense of humour to tweet: "I do love a bogey-free round, pity about the double!"

 Damien McGrane in action in the second round in Morocco. Picture: Thos Caffrey /  www.golffile.ie

Damien McGrane in action in the second round in Morocco. Picture: Thos Caffrey / www.golffile.ie

Simon Thornton shot 37 on the front and the same on the back to miss the cut by two after a 74 as Peter Lawrie slipped to his nine missed cut in a row and his 17th in 19 starts since last year's Irish Open as a 73 left him on five over.

Waterville's David Higgins, home in 41 on the front nine, shot 76 to miss the cut by seven shots.
As for Cañizares, who won on only his third start as an affiliate member at the 2006 Russian Open, the Spaniard is keen to get his second win after almost 200 starts without success.

“Thanks for reminding me!” He joked when reminded about the time since his last win. “I feel great – my game is definitely there so I just need to get in the groove again. If I don’t overthink things and just let them happen, hopefully I will continue to play well and enjoy the weekend."

The 31 year old has already compiled two top ten finishes in 2014, and admits he has taken confidence from a strong showing at last season’s Turkish Airlines Open, where he played alongside World Number One Tiger Woods in the penultimate group on Sunday.

Hoey might be eight shots behind but he shot a pair of 65s at the weekend to win the title by three from McGrane on 17 under par two years ago.

Trophée Hassan II (after 36 holes)

130 A Cañizares (Esp) 62 68,

131 S Benson (Eng) 63 68,

135 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 68 67,

136 M Carlsson (Swe) 65 71, D Horsey (Eng) 72 64, C Arendell (USA) 65 71,

137 G Bourdy (Fra) 68 69,

138 R Karlsson (Swe) 71 67, T Fleetwood (Eng) 66 72, M Hoey (Nir) 68 70, J Morrison (Eng) 69 69, G Coetzee (RSA) 69 69, M Siem (Ger) 69 69,

139 R Derksen (Ned) 69 70, R Rock (Eng) 71 68, M Warren (Sco) 66 73, W Ormsby (Aus) 68 71, A Sullivan (Eng) 66 73, R Bland (Eng) 69 70,

140 G Bhullar (Ind) 67 73, J Campillo (Esp) 71 69, D Drysdale (Sco) 73 67,

141 R Davies (Wal) 68 73, S Dodd (Wal) 68 73, D Howell (Eng) 72 69, P Waring (Eng) 72 69, S Kapur (Ind) 70 71,

142 R Dinwiddie (Eng) 71 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 71, D Willett (Eng) 72 70, E Goya (Arg) 73 69, F Fritsch (Ger) 72 70, M Ilonen (Fin) 69 73, A Levy (Fra) 70 72, D Brooks (Eng) 72 70, L Bjerregaard (Den) 69 73,

143 G Havret (Fra) 72 71, E Dubois (Fra) 68 75, T Lewis (Eng) 69 74, R Kakko (Fin) 70 73, R Ramsay (Sco) 72 71, S Hansen (Den) 74 69, D McGrane (Irl) 70 73, S Dyson (Eng) 73 70, R Fisher (Eng) 70 73, R Green (Aus) 70 73, E Molinari (Ita) 73 70, M Kieffer (Ger) 71 72, M Tullo (Chi) 74 69,

144 S Lowry (Irl) 72 72, J Dantorp (Swe) 73 71, P Sjöland (Swe) 70 74, B Rumford (Aus) 73 71, B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 73, F Calmels (Fra) 70 74, D Im (USA) 71 73, E De La Riva (Esp) 70 74, S Kjeldsen (Den) 74 70, A Saddier (Fra) 72 72, G Stal (Fra) 73 71, D Huizing (Ned) 74 70,

145 M Baldwin (Eng) 71 74, M Crespi (Ita) 71 74, P Whiteford (Sco) 67 78, N Elvira (Esp) 70 75, A Kaleka (Fra) 72 73, T Hatton (Eng) 73 72, J Lara (Esp) 72 73, D Stewart (Sco) 71 74, K Broberg (Swe) 75 70, S Wakefield (Eng) 72 73,

Missed the cut

146 J Lima (Por) 72 74, Y El Hassani (Mar) 72 74, N Fasth (Swe) 74 72, S Kim (Kor) 72 74, A Otaegui (Esp) 70 76, S Walker (Eng) 76 70, K Phelan (Irl) 76 70, A Pavan (Ita) 77 69, M Schneider (Ger) 77 69, B Paolini (USA) 71 75, C Wood (Eng) 76 70, P McGinley (Irl) 76 70, A Gee (Eng) 77 69,

147 J Knutzon (USA) 77 70, J Hansen (Den) 72 75, R Santos (Por) 74 73, S Thornton (Irl) 73 74, J Olazábal (Esp) 75 72, S Khan (Eng) 72 75, C Lee (Sco) 75 72, V Riu (Fra) 79 68, J Van Zyl (RSA) 72 75,

148 T Pieters (Bel) 76 72, A Forsyth (Sco) 76 72, J Doherty (Sco) 74 74, A Hartø (Den) 70 78, J Carlsson (Swe) 75 73, J Heath (Eng) 72 76, M Ito (Jpn) 71 77, M Foster (Eng) 76 72,

149 F Serghini (Mar) 76 73, R Wattel (Fra) 74 75, P Lawrie (Irl) 76 73, C Yuan (am) (Chn) 69 80,

150 C Del Moral (Esp) 75 75, P Larrazábal (Esp) 79 71, G Storm (Eng) 74 76,

151 J Hahn (USA) 76 75, F Zanotti (Par) 72 79, E Pepperell (Eng) 74 77,

152 J Kingston (RSA) 79 73, J McLeary (Sco) 78 74, D Higgins (Irl) 76 76,

153 S Manley (Wal) 80 73,

154 J Parry (Eng) 80 74,

155 Z Scotland (Eng) 78 77,

156 M Nixon (Eng) 80 76,

157 Y Ali (Eng) 84 73,

158 A Joudar (Mar) 81 77, M Madsen (Den) 82 76,

159 M Lundberg (Swe) 75 84,

160 A Lguirati (am) (Mar) 82 78,

** C Doak (Sco) 79 RT, M Korhonen (Fin) 79 WD, A Wall (Eng) RT 0,