Shane Lowry faces an anxious 10-day wait - maybe more - to see if he qualifies for the WGC-Accenture Matchplay.
But Peter Lawrie remains in with a shout of claiming his second win on tour after a grinding, bogey-free 70 left him just four shots adrift of leader Richard Sterne, tied for 11th with Gareth Maybin (67) on eight under par in the Dubai Desert Classic.
Lowry made an eagle two at his penultimate hole and while that helped him card a level par 72, he still missed the three under par cut by five shots and is now in danger of falling out of the top-64 in the world who will qualify for the first World Golf Championship of the season.
The field will be decided on the Monday week’s world rankings and current world No 62 Lowry could be out of the top-64 by then and relying on withdrawals for a place in the field in Arizona, an event that could have provided him with a major stepping stone to a top-50 place and a Masters debut.
Whatever about Lowry’s “problems”, Lawrie was chuffed to get up and down from 110 yards for par at his closing hole, the ninth, after a day battling blustery conditions and treacherously quick greens.
“It was difficult with the wind, I have to admit,” Lawrie told European Tour radio. “A 70 wasn’t too flattering really because I played quite well today. I had a lot of chances. The greens seemed to be very fast and dried out very early. I kept leaving myself above the hole or with a lot of break so it was difficult to hole putts.
“But I am proud of the way I finished. I missed the fairway on nine and had to get up and down from 110 yards, so 70 is not that bad a score.”
Like Maybin, Lawrie had another impressive day from tee to green but didn’t putt as well as he did for Thursday’s 66. He even chipped in at one stage but he still has high hopes of challenging for the top prize.
“I think I missed just two greens today [the stats said four], which was quite good and gave myself a lot of chances from 10 to 15 feet but unfortunatley I didn’t convert enough of them.
“Given the conditions, yes (I’m satisfied). It is a quite tough out there with a bit more wind today. But as I said, the greens were that bit more difficult.
“I’m going to be a few shots behind going into the weekend but nothing that’s too impassable. With windy conditions forecast for the weekend, you just never know.”
Lawrie also took time out to pay tribute to the late JD Murphy, father of close friend and former Tour player Gary, who passed away yesterday.
“Gary is a very dear friend of mine and unfortunatley I heard news yesterday that he had passed away,” Lawrie said. “Jim was a great man and he will be sorely missed.”
Maybe missed just three greens as he carded five birdies in an immaculate round that left him in an eight-way tie for 11th with Lawrie. But it wasn’t all smiles from the Irish contingent.
Damien McGrane’s 72 relegated him to 52nd on four under while Michael Hoey’s late bogey at the seventh, his 16th, saw him miss the cut by one despite carding a second successive 71.
Lowry needed a 67 at worst to make the cut but after an early birdie at the second, he bogeyed the par-five third and then kissed all hope goodbye with a double bogey six at the ninth.
Four over for the tournament with two holes to play, he holed his second at the 17th for an eagle two but that bit of magic came too late.
He is not entered for next week’s Joburg Open in South Africa and while he may remain in the top-64 in the world on Monday, his chances of making it to Tucson are in the hands of others.
World No 69 Scott Jamieson, for example, is just five shots off the lead in Dubai while in the US, No 77 Kevin Na was in contention following a second round 64.
Like Lawrie, Sterne shot a determined 70 in tricky, swirling winds to lead by one from Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (68), Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher (70) and Denmark’s Throbjørn Olesen (66).
Given the difference in conditions compared to round one at the Emirates Golf Club, when Sterne posted a brilliant ten under 62, the man in command was pleased to be heading into the weekend with a one stroke lead.
“The course was a lot tougher today with the wind and the greens definitely firmed out a bit,” said Sterne, who is making his way back to the top after spending the majority of the last three years plagued by back injuries.
“I think it’s going to be quite tricky coming to the weekend. There’s a lot of guys bunched up and you’re going to have to play pretty well on the weekend to be there on Sunday.
“I have spent a long time sitting at home watching all the guys, and especially the South Africans winning and Branden [Grace} winning a lot last year. But it’s nice to be back in the action and to have a chance going into the weekend.”
Challenge Tour graduates Andreas Hartø of Denmark, Chris Doak of Scotland and the German Max Kieffer share fifth place on ten under in Dubai, while Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia defied a shoulder injury which required on-course treatment during round two to join Jeev Milkha Singh and Romain Wattel on nine under par.
Garcia said: “It’s a little bit of a tight shoulder, and I am trying to protect it so the neck and the arm get a little bit sore from that. I got treatment yesterday and felt better this morning, but as the day goes on, giving it more shots, it tightens up a little bit. So hopefully we’ll work it out again and see if we can get it better every day.”
Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley bowed out for the third week in a row when he added a 77 to his opening 74. The Dubliner has yet to shoot a round of par or better since he was named as European skipper in Abu Dhabi just over two weeks ago.
Second Round Scores:
132 R Sterne (RSA) 62 70,
133 T Olesen (Den) 67 66, T Fleetwood (Eng) 65 68, S Gallacher (Sco) 63 70,
134 M Kieffer (Ger) 66 68, C Doak (Sco) 65 69, A Hartø (Den) 67 67,
135 S Garcia (Esp) 68 67, J Singh (Ind) 68 67, R Wattel (Fra) 68 67,
136 F Aguilar (Chi) 68 68, Peter Lawrie (Irl) 66 70, T Jaidee (Tha) 68 68, A Sullivan (Eng) 69 67, J Kruger (RSA) 70 66, C Wood (Eng) 68 68, P Casey (Eng) 66 70, M Fraser (Aus) 67 69, Gareth Maybin (Nir) 69 67,
137 I Garrido (Esp) 69 68, R Santos (Por) 66 71, J Olazábal (Esp) 70 67, M Manassero (Ita) 66 71, S Jamieson (Sco) 65 72, G Havret (Fra) 70 67,
138 R Rock (Eng) 70 68, G Bourdy (Fra) 67 71, S Webster (Eng) 69 69, G Lockerbie (Eng) 68 70, E Pepperell (Eng) 68 70, S Noh (Kor) 66 72, R Jacquelin (Fra) 70 68, D Howell (Eng) 70 68, M Nixon (Eng) 69 69, T Levet (Fra) 68 70, T Hamilton (USA) 70 68, F Andersson Hed (Swe) 67 71, J Walters (RSA) 68 70, R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 69 69, L Westwood (Eng) 67 71, H Stenson (Swe) 69 69,
139 A Noren (Swe) 68 71, C Lee (Sco) 69 70, B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 68, L Gagli (Ita) 68 71, S Chowrasia (Ind) 69 70, M Warren (Sco) 67 72, D Drysdale (Sco) 69 70, L Slattery (Eng) 69 70, K Horne (RSA) 68 71,
140 J Campillo (Esp) 69 71, A Wall (Eng) 68 72, Damien McGrane (Irl) 68 72, M Lafeber (Ned) 69 71, J Van Zyl (RSA) 69 71, M Siem (Ger) 68 72, J Donaldson (Wal) 67 73, R Derksen (Ned) 68 72, J Gonnet (Fra) 72 68,
141 O Fisher (Eng) 69 72, D Horsey (Eng) 75 66, R Coles (Eng) 73 68, A Tadini (Ita) 70 71, R Gonzalez (Arg) 71 70, M O’Meara (USA) 67 74, P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 70, S Dyson (Eng) 70 71, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 70, T Lewis (Eng) 69 72, S Khan (Eng) 68 73, G Mulroy (RSA) 71 70
142 Michael Hoey (Nir) 71 71, J Edfors (Swe) 74 68, T Björn (Den) 70 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 71, E Goya (Arg) 70 72, V Dubuisson (Fra) 68 74, D Willett (Eng) 71 71, S Benson (Eng) 68 74, M Wiegele (Aut) 70 72, K Broberg (Swe) 70 72, M Lundberg (Swe) 70 72, M Foster (Eng) 73 69,
143 B Curtis (USA) 73 70, B Rumford (Aus) 73 70, C Paisley (Eng) 73 70, J Lara (Esp) 70 73, J Parry (Eng) 69 74, D Fichardt (RSA) 71 72, W Harrold (Eng) 71 72, F Zanotti (Par) 70 73, P Erofejeff (Fin) 76 67,
144 R Ramsay (Sco) 70 74, C Montgomerie (Sco) 69 75, A Hansen (Den) 74 70, J Luiten (Ned) 72 72, H Otto (RSA) 73 71, M Kobayashi (Jpn) 74 70,
145 J Morrison (Eng) 69 76, M Baldwin (Eng) 76 69, R Green (Aus) 73 72, S Henry (Sco) 71 74,
146 E Grillo (Arg) 67 79, B Lane (Eng) 72 74, P Waring (Eng) 70 76, J Busby (Eng) 75 71, A Kaleka (Fra) 71 75, S Dodd (Wal) 69 77, S Wakefield (Eng) 72 74, N Fasth (Swe) 69 77, M Campbell (Nzl) 73 73, Shane Lowry (Irl) 74 72, J Hansen (Den) 74 72, P Whiteford (Sco) 74 72, M Williams (am) (Eng) 71 75,
147 R Finch (Eng) 73 74, A Dodt (Aus) 75 72, P Meesawat (Tha) 74 73, D Gaunt (Aus) 75 72,
148 Z Scotland (Eng) 75 73, E Molinari (Ita) 72 76, A Cañizares (Esp) 73 75, J Sjöholm (Swe) 72 76, M Harradine (am) (Sui) 73 75,
149 R Bain (Sco) 74 75, C Cévaër (Fra) 74 75,
150 M Munir (Pak) 75 75,
151 Paul McGinley (Irl) 74 77, M Lampert (Ger) 75 76, E Kofstad (Nor) 73 78,
153 F Serghini (Mar) 76 77,
** R Bland (Eng) 68 RT