Friday, 14 March 2003
The Qatar Masters enjoyed a day when Doha Golf Club was bathed in glorious sunshine rather than sand and dust from the desert, and at the end David Howell of England and Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy shared the lead after an incomplete second round. Howell, the first round leader after a six under par 66, tagged a level par 72 onto that opening effort as he managed to squeeze 36 holes out of the fading light to claim the clubhouse lead on 138.

Meanwhile Remesy joined him on that mark, but with six holes left to play as darkness descended on Doha. The Frenchman started out at two under par after an opening round of 70 but, starting at the tenth, picked up strokes at the 16th, 18th, first and second to climb to six under par just as Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley bogeyed two in a row to drop back to five under with five holes to play.

Howell birdied the final hole just as the siren sounded to call off play and he said: “It’s a relief not to come back tomorrow. I played nicely all day and it’s good to be in this position after missing the cut in the Dubai Desert Classic, a tournament that I won four years ago.”

Remesy, meanwhile, kept his concentration going and gave further credence to the “horses for courses” theory. Two years ago he was third after three rounds but had a frustrating final day. Last year he played superbly all week and shared second place with Nick Dougherty behind Adam Scott of Australia.

He said; “I feel my game is improving every year and I know I can compete, even in fields full of great players. I am looking forward to a top finish at worst and maybe a top five or top three. To win you have to believe in yourself and you only need to look at what Robert-Jan Derksen did last week to see what belief can do.”

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