France’s Alexandre Kaleka grabbed the outright lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, where Justin Rose remained the man to beat after a superb response to his one shot penalty in Doha.
England's World Number Four went from four under par to three under after his ball moved a fraction as he prepared to tap in for par on the 17th green on Wednesday.
But he hit straight back with a closing birdie and two more came in his first five holes this morning to leave him only a two strokes off the lead.
Portugal's Ricardo Santos led overnight and while he waited for his lunchtime resumption, Challenge Tour graduate Kaleka birdied the 433 yard second to join him on seven under, before edging ahead with another gain at the fourth.
Former PGA Championship winner Simon Khan reached seven under when he picked up shots on the tenth and 16th, but then came a double-bogey seven on the long 18th.
Northern Irishman Michael Hoey was only two back after three birdies in four holes from the 14th.
Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els, three under and level par respectively, were later starters like Santos.
Rose's next dropped stroke, unlike his unfortunate incident on the opening day, was all of his own making.
His second to the long first after he had turned in 34 was fired miles right into the desert scrub and it took him three more shots to make the green.
A five foot putt did at least limit the damage to a bogey six and on five under he was still only two behind the joint leaders - Kaleka, Santos, South Africans Garth Mulroy and George Coetzee, Australian Marcus Fraser and Rose's playing partner Martin Kaymer.
Coetzee was producing the most action-packed round. He resumed with a double-bogey seven, but then had six birdies in seven holes around the turn.
Fraser was the one to break clear at the top. After nine straight pars on the back nine he grabbed five birdies in seven holes to reach nine under.
That put him two clear, but former World Number One Kaymer - hero of last September's Ryder Cup - sank a ten foot putt on the fifth to narrow the gap to one and Chilean Felipe Aguilar had a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th to be eight under as well.
Rose remained five under with four to go and compatriot Paul Casey was alongside him after birdies on the third and fourth.