Thursday, 28 January 2016
Nicolas Colsaerts  (Getty Images)
Nicolas Colsaerts (Getty Images)

Nicolas Colsaerts cited a mid-round eagle as the catalyst for his second-round 68 as he moved into second place at the halfway stage of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Two-time champion Paul Lawrie had set the clubhouse target at 11 under but none of the later starters, Colsaerts included, looked like getting to within striking distance of the leader as the wind got up around Doha Golf Club.

Colsaerts had birdied all four of the par fives in the first round and carried on that theme as he picked up a shot on the tenth, his first, before giving it back on the 14th and turning in level par.

He then eagled the par five first and sprung to life, picking up further shots on the fifth and the ninth to get within one shot of Lawrie.

"It certainly got my rhythm back on," he said. "The front nine was a bit on and off. I hit a few holes and maybe thought I could have just slipped the score under par on the front, which I didn't.

The eagle on the first was certainly the rhythm-kicker that I was hoping for - Nicolas Colsaerts

"And then the rest, I played pretty well the rest of that side, which made me come back in four under which is good."

With high winds expected, many of the tees were moved forward on Thursday morning, but Colsaerts' distance off the tee still proved a considerable asset as he took his aggregate score on the par fives this week to eight under.

"I've managed them quite well in the first two rounds," he said. "I still think that there's a lot of birdie chances. Especially today, they moved a lot of tees forward, so a lot of the holes that would require a little bit of attention, it was a little easier today.

"It's still a good test."

Sergio Garcia was the 2014 champion here and he signed for a 66 which was the joint low round of the day.

The Spaniard birdied the tenth before two further gains on the 14th and 15th were followed by an eagle on the 16th to take him five under for his round through seven holes.

Nine pars followed before a monster putt on the eighth prompted a dancing celebration and got him to eight under.

"I had a really good front nine," he said "I felt like I played well on the back when it was getting tougher and the wind was picking up.

"A lot of putts burned the edge, and finally I made a bomb on eight. The one you don't expect to make is the one that I made. It was a little bit of surprise, so I didn't know what to do.

"I don't know if they were dance moves (on the eighth green). They were like jabs. When we got to the ninth tee, I said to my caddie and to the guys, 'I think that celebration is going to look a little bit funny on TV'."

He added: "Any time you shoot under par, it's good. Even though my finish wasn't great yesterday, I was still happy with the beginning. Today I played really nicely. I think I hit every green. It was another good round, so I've just got to try to do more of the same on Friday and Saturday."

Another Spaniard with a good record at Doha Golf Club is Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who recorded a 68 to sit two shots off the leader.

The 31 year old finished in the top three here in 2011 and 2014 and is hoping his skills in the wind will bring dividends over the weekend.

"I think I'm well known for being a very consistent player," he said. "On a day with a lot of wind, normally you need to use a lot of resources and I think I'm good at that. I'm used to playing with the wind, plus I like this course.

"Normally if I can use the wind, I'll use it. But sometimes it gets to the point that it's so much that you just have to play against it, and then that's when it gets really tricky.

"I just missed some shots because of overdoing the wind or paying way too much attention to it. I think I was pretty much in control the entire day, which is something I'm proud of, especially on windy days."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GRACE, BrandenRSA18-14
T2OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-12
T4DREDGE, BradleyWAL18-11
T4JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11

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