DOHA (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia tamed windy conditions to shoot a second-round 66 and join a fourway tie for the lead at the Qatar Masters on Thursday.
The Spaniard made six birdies and no bogeys but was most pleased by the way in which he coped with the breeze that blew up after the first round had been played in perfectly calm conditions.
“It was not the strong wind we are used to seeing here,” Garcia told reporters. “But we had to choose the right clubs and it made some of the drives a little tougher.
“I managed to play smart and do that fairly nicely. And when I feel good I love to hit all sorts of shots, draws fades, highs and lows and I am hoping I will be able to do it again in the final two rounds.”
Garcia will face tough competition because among the three other players sharing the lead at nine under par was former world number one Martin Kaymer who carded a second-round 67.
The German has won three times in nearby Abu Dhabi but has missed cuts in Qatar.
This year, however, he feels ready to put another desert setting on his victory list having tightened up his driving in Abu Dhabi last week.
“The first week of the season you don’t know if all the practice you have been doing will pay off straightaway,” Kaymer said.
“But I learned a lot last week about my irons and driving the ball and I have used it here this week very well already. I think it will be a good couple of days.”
Portugal’s Ricardo Santos, who had led after the first round, took his score to 10 under and looked to be opening a big lead over the field when he made three birdies in his first four holes.
But after three bogeys in the second half of his round he could only sign for a 70.
The fourth player at the top of the leaderboard was Australian Marcus Fraser who made the most of the smoother greens early in the day to shoot a 67.
But Scottish Ryder Cup player Paul Lawrie, who had been hoping to become the first man to win three the Qatar tournament three times, missed the cut.
He walked angrily off the course refusing to talk to the media after a four-putt on the 15th green cost him a double bogey and a second successive 72 saw him miss the cut by one shot.
World number four Justin Rose, the highest ranked player in the field, finished on five under par following a second-round 71.
Editing by Ed Osmond