Martin Kaymer stretched his lead to five shots at the end of his second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The German, winner of this tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011, made 10 birdies and a couple of bogeys yesterday to shoot to the top of the leaderboard and he carried his form into day two.
Kaymer carded a five-under 67 on Friday to sit 13 under par overall and further clear of Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and Alexander Levy, who were still on the course.
“The greens and my stroke are going well while I’m here,” Kaymer told Sky Sports 4.
“I didn’t miss many fairways which gives you the opportunity to go for the flags.
“I think the golf is two or three shots tougher in the morning than the afternoon so therefore I was really happy.”
World number one Rory McIlroy, who shot 67 yesterday, started his second round alongside close rival Rickie Fowler just as Kaymer finished his round.
The reigning Open and USPGA champion started his round with a birdie to move six under for the tournament.
Starting on the back nine, reigning US Open champion Kaymer superbly putted from the edge of the green on the 12th and then made another birdie at the 13th.
He saved par on the 16th despite finding a greenside bunker with his approach and then overcame an errant tee shot into the rough to take four on the par-five 18th.
Another wayward approach at the start of the front nine left him in another bunker but he magnificently chipped in to move to 12 under overall.
Kaymer was struggling to make further inroads at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club although it looked like he would end a run of four successive pars when he was left a birdie putt from a few feet on the sixth.
The chance went begging, though, and he also missed another birdie opportunity on his next hole, albeit from a greater distance, when his putt drifted to the right.
His lead was increased to four shots, though, after Karlsson dropped his first shot of the day at the par-four third.
Kaymer ended his run of pars on his penultimate hole but missed another birdie chance on the ninth when his putt from edge of the green went right.
Nevertheless, it meant Kaymer had enjoyed a bogey-free round as he signed for a 67 that moved him five shots clear of the chasing pack.
England’s James Morrison, meanwhile, is in a tie for fourth, on seven under for the tournament, having made four birdies and a bogey in an entertaining front nine on Friday.
Fellow Englishmen Pepperell and Tyrrell Hatton are a shot further back.
McIlroy opened his second round with a birdie while Fowler found par.
A huge drive from the American on the second put him on the green while McIlroy misfired and found the bunker, although a terrific shot from the sand saw him claim a second successive birdie.
It left McIlroy tying for third and he went millimetres from picking up a third shot on hole three, instead having to settle for a par along with Fowler.
Australia’s Richard Green, meanwhile, finished his second round to card 68 and moved into a tie for second place on eight under with France’s Alexander Levy.