Craig Lee overcomes ailments to make cut in Dubai

Craig Lee plays his second shot at the par 4, ninth hole on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club. Picture: David Cannon/GettyCraig Lee plays his second shot at the par 4, ninth hole on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club. Picture: David Cannon/Getty
Craig Lee plays his second shot at the par 4, ninth hole on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club. Picture: David Cannon/Getty
Craig Lee had a sore wrist on Thursday that required acupuncture. Today, a stiff neck needed treatment. He's overcome both ailments to join two fellow Scots, Scott Jamieson and David Drysdale, in making it to the weekend in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

“I might wake up with a sore toe tomorrow and wouldn’t mind that,” joked the Stirling man, having just pulled off a Houdini-style escape to survive the cut with nothing to spare after he’d limped to the turn in 40 to sit three-over for the tournament.

Four birdies in a row from the second, his 11th, transformed Lee’s day, though just as satisfying as that burst were two crucial par putts over the closing stretch - one from 11 feet at the sixth and the other an eight-footer at the ninth after charging his 20-foot birdie attempt past the hole.

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“Given that I’ve come close twice to not playing, I’m delighted with my work over the last two days,” admitted the former Tartan Tour star after rounds of 72 and 71 to sit joint-56th on one-under.

“This is my fifth week in a row and my left wrist has been niggling me so I got some acupuncture in my forearm before playing on Thursday.

“That has definitely helped but, shortly after wakening up this morning, my neck stiffened up and it needed a bit of cracking and manipulation before I could go out and play.

“I was only able to hit shots at about 60 per cent power on the range and only got to practice for 25 minutes this morning due to the fact it took a lot of massaging.

“But I was always going to give it a go and making those four birdies in a row was very nice indeed, especially after I’d made a mess of the less difficult nine.”

Jamieson, fifth on his debut here in 2012, is sitting alongside two-time winner Rory McIlroy in joint-23rd on four-under after opening efforts of 69 and 71.

“I hit it in the wrong places off the tee and found myself scrambling a lot,” said the Glaswegian of starting his second circuit with a mix of three birdies and three bogeys in his first seven holes.

“My iron-play was again pretty solid like yesterday. All I need to do is straighten the driver out a little bit. There’s nothing really that bad and it’s just a little uncomfortable.

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“When my driving is good, it is really good but generally it is just fading a bit too much and on this course you generally want to draw it.”

Though pleased to make the cut, Drysdale was disappointed to cover the last seven holes in two-over, having been four-under for the round prior to that.

“I’ve played good enough over the last couple of days to be better than two-under-par,” said the Cockburnspath man, who is sitting in joint-49th.

“I made an arse of the finish yesterday and my finish was also disappointing today. But I feel my game is close to being really good and hopefully I can kick on over the weekend.”

The five Scots to make early exits included two-time winner Stephen Gallacher, who missed the cut here for just the third time in 17 appearances.

A second-round 75 - his worst effort on this course since a closing 76 in 2010 - began with a lost ball in waste area at the 10th.

“That wasn’t the best start, but the game I’ve got just now I’d be struggling to break par round Bathgate,” said Gallacher of his home club.

“You can try your best but when you are missing right and left it’s tough - and I’ve had that for three weeks.

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“It was a bit better yesterday but the fact I had 27 putts for two-under showed that I scrambled like mad.”

Reflecting on his third missed cut on the European Tour’s Desert Swing, the 41 year-old added: “I have to try and stay positive.

“There’s nothing else I can do than keep working hard and try to find a way to get it round the course again.”

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, the 2012 winner, shot a second successive 67 to lead by one at the halfway stage from record three-time champion Ernie Els, another South African in Trevor Fisher Jnr and Englishman Danny Willett.

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