Kevin Phelan needs something good to happen and Morocco might just be the place for the Mount Juliet touring pro after he made six birdies in an opening 70 in the Trophée Hassan II.
The 25-year old Waterford Castle product made four birdies in a two in the middle of his round to get to four under par.
But while he made another birdie at his 16th hole, a triple bogey seven at the third (his 12th), took some of the gloss off his day at the Robert Trent Jones-designed Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course.
West Waterford’s Gary Hurley had a mixed bag to shoot 71 for a share of 17th with Peter Lawrie, Paul Dunne hit just two fairways in a level par 72 as Cormac Sharvin made one birdie and two bogeys in a 73.
Michael Hoey struggled to a 77 as Headfort’s Rory McNamara slipped to a disappointing 80 on a day when just 32 players broke par in testing conditions in Rabat.
Italy’s Francesco Laporta and France’s Thomas Linard posted the only two eagles of the day to claim a share of the lead alongside Australia's Jason Scrivener with a four under 68s.
Fourth place is shared by local hero Younes El Hassani, Tano Goya, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Adrien Saddier and Borja Virto Astudillo.
For the first time this week, the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour are playing at the same venue concurrently, with the men playing the Red Course and the women playing the Blue Course.
Florentyna Parker from England leads the way from a group of players which includes Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord. Sadly, her fiancée Richard Green fared less well, the Australian signing for an 82.
Trophée Hassan II, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam (Par 72)
68 T Linard (Fra), F Laporta (Ita), J Scrivener (Aus)
69 A Saddier (Fra), Y El Hassani (Mar), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), B Vierte Astudillo (Esp), E Goya (Arg)
70 K Phelan (Irl), A Johnston (Eng), C Berardo (Fra), R Paratore (Ita), R Wattel (Fra), B Eccles (Aus), M Korhonen (Fin), Z Lombard (RSA)
71 T Muto (Jpn), F Serghini (Mar), P Lawrie (Irl), N Elvira (Esp), A Cañizares (Esp), D Im (USA), M Orrin (Eng), G Hurley (Irl), S Henry (Sco), J Wang (Kor), D Burmester (RSA), G King (Eng), A Levy (Fra), T Lewis (Eng), L Jensen (Den), P Peterson (USA),
72 R Lynch (Aus), S Benson (Eng), D Frittelli (RSA), M Manassero (Ita), D Papadatos (Aus), P Dunne (Irl), N Bertasio (Ita), J Robinson (Eng), S Kapur (Ind), M Southgate (Eng), M Kinhult (Swe), C Bezuidenhout (RSA), K Mueck (Aus), S Walker (Eng), C Hanson (Eng), J Lima (Por), C Doak (Sco), J Senior (Eng), P Gustafsson (Swe),
73 E Peppered (Eng), R McEvoy (Eng), R Jacquelin (Fra), C Sharvin (Nir), R Davies (Wal), N Marsh (Eng), B Åkesson (Swe), D Dixon (Eng), J White (Eng), J Quesne (Fra)
74 G Murray (Sco), A Bernadette (Fra), S Jeppesen (Swe), R Coles (Eng), S Griffiths (Eng), J Kelly (Nor), O Fisher (Eng), J Knutzon (USA), R Fox (Nzl), G Bourdy (Fra), S Webster (Eng), S Hansen (Den), M Tullo (Chi), A Otaegui (Esp), C Shinkwin (Eng), R Karlsson (Swe), R Rock (Eng)
75 A Quiros (Esp), A Wall (Eng), S Dyson (Eng), A McArthur (Sco), M Jonzon (Swe), T Sinnott (Aus), M Foster (Eng), J Carlsson (Swe), N Ravano (Ita), G Havret (Fra), M Lundberg (Swe), M Nixon (Eng)
76 J Elson (Eng), J Fahrbring (Swe), U Van Den Berg (RSA), J McLeary (Sco), T Lawrence (RSA), C Costilla (Arg), N Cullen (Aus), J Hansen (Den), E Molinari (Ita), J Dick (Eng), C Paisley (Eng), J Hugo (RSA), B Hebert (Fra), B Evans (Eng), T Pfister (Sui), T Pilkadaris (Aus), C Bouniol (Fra)
77 D Gaunt (Aus), P Oriol (Esp), S Manley (Wal), S Gros (Fra), D Brooks (Eng), L Nemecz (Aut), M Hoey (Nir), C Blomstrand (Swe), J Ballesteros (Esp), A Id-Omar (am), (Mar)
78 B Lane (Eng), J Walters (RSA), E España (Fra), R McGowan (Eng), M Ford (Eng), D Gavins (Eng), C Sutherland (Sco), R Evans (Eng), D Horsey (Eng), M Crespi (Ita)
79 M Baldwin (Eng), C Heavens (USA)
80 A Joudar (Mar), C Rodiles (Esp), R McNamara (Irl), Y Touhami (am), (Mar)
81 F Fritsch (Ger)
82 R Green (Aus), L Canter (Eng), J Busby (Eng)
** K Ferrie (Eng)