Stephen Gallacher is just a shot off the halfway lead in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, with Spain’s Adrian Otaegui on top of a crowded leaderboard at the halfway stage at Doha Golf Club.
Otaegui produced a blistering finish, birdieing the last three holes to add a second round 66 to his opening 67 and finish 11 under par, a shot ahead of Scot Gallacher, England’s Eddie Pepperell, Frenchman Gregory Havret and South African Erik van Rooyen.
On another day of low scoring in unusually calm conditions, the halfway cut fell at a record four under par and means the remaining 78 players are separated by just seven shots.
Gallacher, who is something of a desert specialist after winning back-to-back titles in Dubai, said: “It depends on the elements. If it’s windy and you break 70 you’ve got a good score.
“If it’s flat calm it’ll be like the first day. We’ll see what the weather’s like and just try to be in contention coming down the stretch on Sunday.”
The highlight of Gallacher’s bogey-free 66 was a birdie from 50 feet on the 13th.
Otaegui, who won his maiden European Tour title in the Paul Lawrie Match Play last year, said: “I know I’m playing well, I’m confident with my game at the moment and I’m just trying to keep my momentum going. I’m really looking forward to the weekend now. I just wanted to stay patient hole after hole and we’ll see what happens.”
American Sean Crocker is part of a 10-strong group on nine under after finishing eagle, par, eagle in his 68.
Crocker drove the green on the short par-four 16th and holed from 30 feet, before a superb long-iron approach on the last set up another eagle from six feet.
France’s Raphael Jacquelin made the third albatross on Tour in four weeks when holed out from 245 yards on the 10th on his way to a 66 and a share of 11th on eight under par.
Former Ryder Cup players Chris Wood and Jamie Donaldson are a shot further back, with Donaldson’s 65 equalling the lowest score of the day.
South Africa’s Zander Lombard also shot a 65, including seven birdies in nine holes, but missed the cut by a single shot following an opening 76.