Two bogeys in the last three holes saw Rory McIlroy fall back into a tie for the lead with Alvaro Quiros after the second round of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
Despite the disappointing finish to his round, McIlroy remains on course for the top-two finish that would give him a chance of overhauling Luke Donald in The Race to Dubai.
“Obviously it wasn't the way I wanted to finish,” said the World Number Two. “I got myself into a good position, looked like I could have had a good chance there to get to ten under par, and then to finish at seven is a bit disappointing. I hit a few loose shots coming in.
“It's something I'll have to try and eliminate tomorrow if I want to try and lead this golf tournament going into Sunday. I'm still tied for the lead. I'm in the same position I was last night, but I feel like I could have definitely shot a few better today. But if that's my worst round of the week, it's not too bad.
“I've just got to try and get through this weekend as best I can, and really give it everything. Obviously try and win the tournament to give myself a chance going into next week, and then take it easy for the first few days of next week in Dubai and try and get myself in the best possible shape for Thursday.”
Starting the day level at the top of the leaderboard alongside Quiros and David Horsey on six under par, McIlroy picked up his first birdie of the day at the third but immediately relinquished the shot at the next.
However, further birdies at the eighth, tenth and 12th saw the 22 year old move to nine under par before he ran into trouble on the 16th when his drive ended up behind a tree and he was forced to pitch out onto the fairway for an eventual bogey.
A wayward tee shot at the 17th landed in the rough down the left but he recovered for par, before another poor tee shot at the last found the trees and he was forced to lay-up before pushing his putt right of the hole to finish with a 69 and level with Quiros on seven under par.
The Spaniard had earlier also shot a 69 that featured four birdies and three bogeys including a disappointing five at the ninth, his final hole.
"Unfortunately, I didn't play as well as yesterday," said Quiros.
"I managed the round well until the first hole, my tenth. I three-putted there, I three-putted the second and after that, I didn't hole any good putts. Finishing with a bogey at the ninth was a bit frustrating but this is how it is.
"It's a shame because without these two three-putts, it was a proper number, nine under would be great.
Panupol Pittayarat is at six under par alongside Scotland’s Richie Ramsay after the Thai returned a 65 containing an eagle and three birdies.
"I played well. My score came out great and I had a good feeling about it. I was confident with my game today," said Panupol.
"My goal was to make the cut and, well, I'm up here now. I'll stick with my plan and whatever happens, happens."
Veteran Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a level par 70 to join New Zealand’s Danny Lee – who came home in 30 for a 65 – on five under par.
Horsey is part of the group at four under par after signing for a 72 that included two birdies, two bogeys and a costly double-bogey six at the ninth, where he found the water.
"Not as good as yesterday obviously. I played alright, my iron play was good but didn't hit many fairways and if you miss the fairways, it's difficult to control your second shot," he said.
"But I scrambled pretty well, didn't putt so well but it's not too bad, it's not going to be far away by the end of the day so hopefully I'll go well at the weekend."
Ian Poulter is one under par after the defending champion produced a 68 containing an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys.
A 71 saw Padraig Harrington finish one-over as his hopes of sneaking into the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World receded.
In the battle for 2012 European Tour cards former winners John Parry, Scott Strange, Nick Dougherty, Jeppe Huldahl and Anthony Kang, as well as 2008 Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson, were all condemned to a trip to Qualifying School after missing the cut.