Y.E. Yang, Ricardo Gonzalez share lead in Morocco

Y.E. Yang carded a 4-under-par 69 on Friday to reside in a tie with Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina for first place entering the final round at the Trophy Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco.Yang, of South K

Y.E. Yang, Ricardo Gonzalez share lead in Morocco

Y.E. Yang carded a 4-under-par 69 on Friday to reside in a tie with Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina for first place entering the final round at the Trophy Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco.

Yang, of South Korea, overcame the rain and a bogey on the first hole to collect five birdies and finish at 7-under 139 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam — Red Course.

“Today starting to rain and (it was a difficult) course. Yesterday (was) good weather but still difficult,” said Yang, who is seeking his first Champions Tour title.

Both of Yang’s PGA Tour titles came in 2009, including the PGA Championship, in which he bested Tiger Woods by three strokes.

Joining Yang atop the leaderboard is Gonzalez (70 on Friday), who recorded an eagle on No. 12 to go along with four birdies against two bogeys during his round.

Gonzalez capped his round with an emotional hug from his son, who also served as his caddie.

“Yeah, I think it’s a more enjoyable day because my son and many friends come to see the great tournament, first tournament, my second tournament of the year on the Champions, so happy to do that,” he said.

First-round leader Steve Pate followed up his 67 on Thursday with a 74 on Friday to fall into a three-way tie for third place at 5-under. Pate, who also is seeking his first PGA Tour Champions win, recorded one birdie against three bogeys on Friday.

“I’m setting my standards kind of low right now because I’m not really swinging all that well,” Pate said of his thoughts heading into the final round. “I’m trying to hit it solid and forward. If you set your sights low enough, you can’t be disappointed. No, hopefully make some more putts.”

Pate is tied with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn (70) and 2023 tournament runner-up Mark Hensby (73) of Australia, while Ken Duke (73) sits one stroke back at 4-under.

Australian Steve Allan, who started the day one stroke in back of the leader, carded a 75 on Friday to fall into a tie for seventh place. Allan, the PGA Tour Champions Q-school qualifier, was tripped up after recording bogeys on Nos. 12, 14 and 15.

Defending champion Stephen Ames of Canada carded his second straight 73 to reside at even-par. He is tied for 20th place.