DOHA: Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer moved into contention at the $2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters with bogey-free second rounds of 66 and 67 respectively at the Doha Golf Club yesterday.
Their two-round aggregate of nine-under par 135 helped them share the lead with Australian Marcus Fraser and overnight leader Ricardo Santos, while a bunch of six golfers, including former US Open champion Michael Campbell, were in joint second spot on 136.
But there was no luck for Paul Lawrie, another of Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes in Chicago, the defending champion missing the cut by a single stroke after a double bogey on the 15th hole.
Kaymer, the 2010 US PGA Championship winner, started off brilliantly with two birdies over the first two holes and played risk-free golf thereafter to position himself perfectly for the next two rounds.
“I played a lot better than the last few rounds I played, especially in Abu Dhabi,” said the 10-time winner on the European Tour.
“But I was a little fortunate today, a few putts that dropped, but on those greens that happens sometimes, and I think 9 under is a good position to be in.”
Kaymer added that the greens were a bit difficult to tackle.
“They were not a lot better (than Wednesday). They were a little bit better. That’s just how it is. It’s a shame because usually you come here and it’s a beautiful golf course and this year, the greens they are struggling a little bit.”
Fraser, a two-time winner on the European Tour had a brilliant if unusual round.
After parring the first nine holes, the world No. 58 produced a string of five birdies over the next seven holes before finishing with two pars.
“I played really well. It was a little bit scrappy down the last hole but managed to scramble a par,” said Fraser.
“Overall, yeah, felt like I played pretty steady most of the day. Made a few birdies once I got on to the back nine, which was the front nine, but yeah, pretty happy with the day.
“It was definitely one of those courses where you need to be patient and just take your chances where you can get them. Definitely did that on the second nine, so that was nice.”
Fraser was surprised at the benign conditions on the golf course.
“The breeze got up a little bit late in the afternoon yesterday, but the weather has been unbelievable so far this week,” he said.
“It normally blows a hurricane every year we come here, but the weather yesterday and today has been beautiful. It’s perfect conditions to get out there and shoot a good score.”
Chilean Felipe Aguilar will be also fancying his chances after shooting a 67 to be one shot off the pace. But for a bogey on the fifth hole, he could have finished in the leading group.
Meanwhile, Justin Rose, who incurred a one-shot penalty in the first round when his ball moved as he prepared to putt shot 71 to make his first cut in five appearances in Qatar.