Former World Number One Martin Kaymer carded a bogey-free 67 to claim a share of the clubhouse lead on day two of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The German – Europe’s hero from The Ryder Cup at Medinah – picked up five birdies at Doha Golf club to join Australian Marcus Fraser on nine under par.
The man who sank the trophy-winning putt in Chicago in September added a 67 - just like Fraser - to be on the nine under par mark of 135.
They were a stroke ahead of Chilean Felipe Aguilar and South African George Coetzee, while Justin Rose - who incurred a one stroke penalty on the opening day when his ball moved as he prepared to tap in - shot 71 to make his first cut in five appearances in Qatar.
Fraser parred every hole on the back nine, but then roared home in 31 with birdies at the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh.
"It's one of those courses where you just have to keep plodding along and take your chances when they come," said the 34 year old, whose only bogey so far came when he three-putted the short 13th on day one.
Kaymer had birdie twos on his card at the 17th, fourth and eighth, where he holed from nearly 20 feet, and also picked up shots on the long 18th and 452 yard fifth.
Rose, runner-up to Jamie Donaldson in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, was happy enough to turn in 34, but a wild second to the 591 yard first came as a real shock to the system.
It finished in the desert scrub and from there he needed three more shots just to make the green.
At least he limited the damage to a bogey six with a five-foot putt, but another shot went after he drove into a bunker on the sixth and he was very grateful for a 15 foot birdie putt two holes later.
Overnight leader Ricardo Santos, who began with a superb 65, was among the later starters, as were Ernie Els and Paul Lawrie - at level par needing to improve just to survive the cut - and Sergio Garcia, who set off again three under.
Rose said: "I was going along nicely, but then made a poor choice I think on the par five (first).
"I pushed it and that made me a bit flat, to be honest with you."
As for simply making the cut, the 32 year old added: "It's a bonus, isn't it? That's almost like leading the tournament round here!"
Santos did not take long to climb back to the top. He birdied the first, third and fourth to reach ten under, while New Zealander Michael Campbell made his presence felt for the second week running with a front-nine 32 that took him to eight under.
Lawrie matched Santos's start shot-for-shot to be three under and Els moved clear of the cut line as well with birdies at the first and fourth.
Santos, fourth in Abu Dhabi last weekend, mixed two more birdies with two bogeys around the turn, but with the wind picking up he still led the field at ten under with four to play.
One behind, Kaymer and Fraser were joined by English pair Andy Sullivan and Gary Lockerbie, but Lawrie put himself in danger of missing the cut by four-putting the 15th - the last three of them from only three feet.