Marcel Siem of Germany shot a four-under 68 on Friday to maintain his three-shot lead after the second round of the Hassan II Trophy.
The French Open champion made seven birdies mixed with three bogeys on the Golf du Palais Royal course to move to a 12-under total of 132.
Mikko Ilonen of Finland and Englishman David Horsey, the 2011 champion, were tied for second. Ilonen carded a 66, while Horsey shot a 67.
“I think it should have been better than it was, to be honest,” Siem said. “The bogeys on four and seven were a bit weird because I was in the middle of the fairway there. I should accept the 68 because it’s always nice to go under par after such a low round the day before, because that can be quite difficult to follow up on sometimes.”
The 72nd-ranked Siem needs to enter the top 50 by today to earn his first invitation to the Masters from April 11 to 14.
“I am trying my best. It is a tournament I have always wanted to play and if I can keep calm and play the way that I have been for the first two days here, then I have a chance,” he said, adding that the blustery conditions over the first two days have been to his liking.
Pablo Larrazabal moved into contention with a 64 to sit four shots behind Siem.
Alvaro Velasco of Spain was second overnight, but dropped down the leaderboard after an erratic 74, to sit nine shots back.