Dubai Desert Classic: South African Richard Sterne shoots 70 to stay in front
Richard Sterne couldn't reproduce his day one magic but still leads at the halfway mark of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Last Updated: 02/02/13 11:41am
The South African, who had produced a spectacular 10-under 62 in round one, lacked spark on his front nine and turned in level par 35. But birdies at each of the three back nine par fives, including one at the final hole, edged him ahead of the pack.
Sterne's two-under 70 for a two-round total of 12-under put him one in front of Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, England's Tommy Fleetwood and Scotland's Stephen Gallacher.
Olesen, who will make his Masters Tournament debut in April and two weeks ago was joint runner-up in Abu Dhabi, added a 66 to his opening 67 and is still bogey-free - as is Fleetwood after rounds of 65 and 68.
Gallacher, like Sterne, found the going much tougher in the afternoon and added a modest 70 to his excellent opening 63.
Pre-tournament favourite Sergio Garcia is nicely placed in tied eighth after a 67 left him just three back but he's still troubled by a shoulder injury.
"On the 14th green I told my caddie if it does not get any better after 18 (his ninth hole) we will probably walk," he said. "Then unfortunately we started making birdies and eagle and I thought 'What do we do now?'
"I got the physio out and he worked on it. It feels a little bit better, but needs to get better," said the Spanish star, who tied for second in Qatar last Saturday.
Lee Westwood, making his first appearance of the season, had the chance to be right in the thick of things, but instead a poor drive at the 17th led to a double-bogey six and failing to birdie the par five last - despite being just over the green in two - left him with a six stroke deficit.
With scoring low, three-under was needed to make it into the weekend. Those missing out included former winners Thomas Bjorn (-2) and Colin Montgomerie (Lev) although triumphant Ryder Cup skipper Jose Maria Olazabal, won won this trophy in 1998, is going well and goes into the weekend in tied 20th on seven-under.