Doha, Qatar: France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera shared the lead with South Africans Justin Harding and George Coetzee after the trio carded another 4-under-par 68 in the second round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club course on Friday.
Lorenzo-Vera started the day with a birdie on the tenth hole but suffered a mid-round stutter before bouncing back with birdies on both the par-3s on the front nine.
“Today I had a lack of energy in the middle of the round – I had a three putt from eight metres for eagle at the 18th and then made bogey on the 1st after a poor tee shot and an even worse lay-up,” said Lorenzo-Vera. “But I’m happy with how I handled it and played my way back into the round.”
Harding joined Lorenzo-Vera after a strong finish to his round. The 33-year-old made three birdies in a row after the turn before another gain at the par-3 17th saw him get to 8-under.
“I’m very happy,” said Harding. “It was a tough day starting out but the wind settled down a bit later on. I hit some good shots and could have holed a couple more putts but I’m happy to put myself in this position after two days and we’ll see what happens.”
Coetzee rode his momentum into day two, reaching 8-under with a lengthy birdie putt on the par-3 8th, his penultimate hole, and he made a tricky par save on the 9th to keep his card blemish-free.
“I’m happy to be playing some better golf, making some putts and hitting some good shots,” said Coetzee, who has scored four top ten finishes in the Qatar Masters but has missed his last two cuts on the European Tour.
England’s Oliver Wilson was the last man to qualify for the event as he doesn’t have full status on the European Tour after finishing outside the top-15 on last year’s Challenge Tour ranking. However, he took full advantage with a 68 following a 69 in the first round to sit alongside three other players on 7-under-par.
“I’m very pleased and to be bogey-free for two days is something I’m delighted with,” said Wilson, who won twice on the Challenge Tour last year. “I have experience around this course, which helps, and I’ve been playing solid, hitting a lot of fairways and finding the middle of the greens.
Wilson is joined by South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen, Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and Spaniard Adri Arnaus one stroke off the leaders while a group of eight players are on 6-under-par including Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and Australia’s Deyen Lawson, who made a memorable hole-in-one at the 17th.
The ace was Lawson’s second in the space of a few months having won a BMW 850M for one at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December.