World number eight Retief Goosen remained cool in the desert heat to stay top of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters’ leaderboard at the end of his second round - but was joined by Australian Richard Green.
Goosen looked on course to at least equal his first-round score of 65 after carding four birdies on his outward nine at the Doha Golf Club, but just one more birdie and a bogey coming home meant he shot a four-under-par 68. That left him 11 under going into the weekend.
Green, meanwhile, shot a superb 65 to put himself well in contention for only his second-ever European Tour win.
The 35-year-old did not drop a shot in his seven-birdie round to join Goosen at the top.
His compatriot Nick O’Hern carded five birdies on the back nine and looked set to join the duo but just one more birdie coming home, accompanied by two bogeys, meant he dropped to nine under and was in second place.
Paul Lawrie, a former winner of the Qatar Masters, put his experience to good use as he shot a four-under 68 to move up to third at seven under.
Ernie Els endured a disappointing day and could only manage a one-under-par 71.
The South African hit a double bogey on the 12th and though he recovered to make five birdies after that, two bogeys on the seventh and ninth – his 16th and 18th – meant he finished on four under overall.
Playing partner Chris DiMarco fared much better on the course after his disappointing one-over 73 yesterday.
The American carded seven birdies and just one bogey for a six-under-par 66 and is one shot ahead of Els at five under overall.
But Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke endured another disappointing round in which he managed just two birdies.
Four bogeys and a double bogey on the fifth meant he carded a four-over 76 for a seven-over-par 151 overall.
Miguel Angel Jimenez made par on the first before bogeying the second as the late morning tee-offs got under way.
Defending champion Henrik Stenson remained on four under after a birdie on the second was cancelled out by a bogey on the third.