Joint overnight leader Justin Rose was quickly back into action at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - unlike his first round playing partner Robert Rock.
Defending champion Rock, who beat Tiger Woods head-to-head in the final round to produce one of the biggest shocks of last season, told officials he was feeling unwell and chose not to resume after his opening 76.
That left Rose alongside only Open Champion Ernie Els as he tried to build on his five under par 67.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson had been the only player able to match that in the first leg of The European Tour's three-week Middle East swing.
He was among the day's later starters, but remained out in front as Rose resumed with four straight pars.
He missed 14 foot chances on the long tenth and 417 yard 11th, the latter after a fine recovery from a fairway bunker.
Els matched those figures to stay at one under, while ahead of them Padraig Harrington experienced fluctuating fortunes when he set off again at level par.
The Irishman's opening drive found sand and his second shot was pulled into the trees, where he was lucky to be able to make a full swing with a rescue club.
He found the green nearly 200 yards away, but then three-putted for a bogey six before coming back with a 15 footer for birdie on the next to return to level par.
World top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were out just after midday, hoping to improve on initial rounds of 75 and 72 respectively.
McIlroy was down in joint 79th place and had to move into the top 65 and ties to survive to the final 36 holes.
Rose grabbed his first birdie of the day on the 475 yard 16th, hitting his approach to around six feet, but narrowly failed with a ten foot attempt on the last.
Turning in 35 he was six under, one in front of Donaldson and two ahead of Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal and Danes Thorbjørn Olesen and Søren Kjeldsen.
Els birdied the 14th, but bogeyed two holes later and was one under starting the back nine.
Harrington had double-bogeyed the short 15th and at two over with eight to play was just outside the expected cut mark.
Rose did convert a 15 footer on the long second and made another of similar length two holes later, but in between a poor approach pulled into the rough cost him a bogey.
At seven under Rose held a two stroke advantage over Donaldson, while Els was suddenly eight behind after a double bogey on the 439 yard third.
A drive into a bunker did not look too serious, but he went from there into trees, did not make the green with his hack out and took three more.
Harrington recovered to level par with birdies on the second and fourth and with four to play he stood level par.