Newly married Paul Casey’s return to the scene of his last victory has seen him become the man to catch at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as he moved into a share of the lead with compatriot Anthony Wall.
Casey, winner of the title two years ago and one of Nick Faldo's wild card picks for last September's Ryder Cup, had a spectacular six birdies in seven holes in his second round.
Among half the 120-strong field that first had to complete their opening rounds following day one's hailstorm, the 31 year old closed with a birdie for a 69 and then found top form.
Three successive birdies completed a back nine 32, then three more in a row from the second swept Casey to ten under par, level with fellow Englishman Wall.
Casey wed American Jocelyn Hefner last month, but played in California the following week and has been working hard on his game since. Their honeymoon is planned for later this year.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, already ahead of Casey on the World Rankings after making it to two play-offs in just over a year as a professional, held the lead when he followed up his opening 66 with two more birdies.
But three pars while Casey was bursting into life and Wall was following an eagle on the second with a birdie at the next left him joint third on nine under alongside Australia’s Brett Rumford.
South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen was alone on eight under, with last week’s winner of the Joburg Open Anders Hansen, England’s Danny Willett and Spain’s Ignacio Garrido a shot further back.
On the course Richard Green had reached seven under for the tournament after five holes, along with overnight joint leader Johan Edfors who birdied the tenth – his opening hole – to go one under after three.