Rising Danish star Thorbjorn Olesen took over at the top as Sergio Garcia battled with a shoulder problem again at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic today.
Olesen, who will make his US Masters debut in April and two weeks ago was joint runner-up in Abu Dhabi, added a 66 to his opening 67 to stand 11 under par at halfway.
Scot Chris Doak and overnight leader Richard Sterne – yet to resume – were one behind and Garcia only two back after thinking about pulling out.
“On the 14th green I told my caddie if it does not get any better after 18 (his ninth hole) we will probably walk,” said the Spanish star, who tied for second in Qatar last Saturday.
“Then unfortunately we started making birdies and eagle and I thought ’What do we do now?’
“I got the physio out and he worked on it. It feels a little bit better, but needs to get better.”
The eagle came on the 564-yard 18th and meant Garcia turned in a five-under 32, but he failed to get up and down from a bunker on the first and after two-putting the driveable second for birdie parred the remaining seven holes.
It added up to a 67 which left the former world number two joint fourth with Indian Jeev Milkha Singh, Frenchman Romain Wattel and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, another of the later starters.
Olesen resumed with four birdies in a row and picked up further shots on the second and short seventh.
Doak has also yet to drop a stroke and a huge weekend now beckons for the 35-year-old from Glasgow, who has made 10 trips to the European Tour qualifying school in his career and has had only one top 10 finish on the circuit.
He came through last season’s Challenge Tour and told Sky Sports after his 69: “I’m ecstatic. The breeze is getting up and clubbing is quite tricky.”
England’s Paul Casey and Lee Westwood, six under and five under overnight respectively, were among the other late starters and so was compatriot Chris Wood, winner of his first Tour title in Qatar. He stood four under when he teed off again.