Lee Westwood returned to some of his best form when the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy was finally able to get going again.
Strong winds allowed less than three hours' play on Friday and caused the second leg of The European Tour's Middle East swing to be cut to 54 holes.
It was more of a sprint than a marathon therefore, and Westwood was fast out of the blocks as he resumed his second round.
The World Number Three birdied the 16th - his seventh hole - two-putted the long 18th for another and then began the front nine with an 18 foot eagle putt.
He was up to three under par and that was good enough for a share of third place when Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, leader after his opening 66, followed two bogeys on Friday with another at the short third.
American John Daly led at five under. The 45 year old, now ranked 543rd in the Official World Golf Ranking, was one in front of Korean K J Choi - but both had yet to start their second rounds.
Westwood and Fernandez-Castaño were part of a group two behind that also included England's David Lynn and Richard Finch, Scot Paul Lawrie and Australian Jason Day, whose first dropped shot of the week came when he three-putted the 17th.
On the same mark was South African Branden Grace, twice a winner already this season and heading for the low score of the second round as he improved from three over to three under with seven to play.
Westwood undid some of his good work with a bogey on the sixth after driving into the desert scrub area, but as at the 18th and first he was on the green in two at the long ninth and two-putted for birdie.
It gave him a 70 and on three under he was two behind not only Daly, who had a birdie and bogey in his first four holes, but also Swede Peter Hanson and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.
Day's 72 put him alongside Lynn (69) on four under, but Fernandez-Castaño could do no better than 75 and had fallen back to three under.
In stark contrast to that defending champion Thomas Björn improved an incredible 14 shots on his opening 79 and on level par seemed sure to survive the cut.