Justin Rose (Getty Images)
Justin Rose remained the man to catch at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship as the second round developed in glorious conditions.
However, for World Number One Rory McIlroy it was all about staying in the event first.
World Number Five Rose resumed on five under par alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson and was up to seven under with two holes of his second round to play.
Making his debut in the tournament, the 32 year old birdied the 16th, second and fourth, but also bogeyed the third after pulling his pitch into the thick rough.
McIlroy, like Donaldson and Tiger Woods, was among the later starters, an opening 75 with his new Nike clubs and ball having left him outside the top 65 and ties who go through to the closing 36 holes tonight.
Woods, meanwhile, was hoping to improve on a first day 72 that left him in a tie for 36th place overnight.
Rose had only Open Champion Ernie Els for company this time, defending champion Robert Rock having pulled out through illness after a four over 76.
Els remained one under after a back nine 36, but then went from sand to trees to rough for a double bogey six at the 439 yard third.
The South African star came back with birdies at the fifth and sixth, but three-putted the next to stand level par, just inside the expected cut mark.
In the group ahead Padraig Harrington was also level par after 16 holes and Paul Lawrie - another former Open Champion, of course - one over.
Donaldson had been joined in a share of second by Dane Søren Kjeldsen, who had three birdies in his first 12 holes to reach five under.
Things got worse for Woods - and McIlroy. Both bogeyed the fourth and fifth to be four over and five over and as a result they were 85th and 94th in a field of 126.
McIlroy revived his hopes of being around for the weekend when he pitched to two feet on the long eighth and then chipped in at the ninth - after almost driving the water.
Out in 37, he was back up to four over, two outside the predicted the cut mark and joint 84th.
Woods was one shot better and 72nd after getting up and down from sand on the eighth and also narrowly escaping a visit to the lake on the next.
McIlroy took an adventurous route, to say the least, on the tenth. After driving left close to the trees he went across the fairway into a bunker, came out in the rough and put his next in more sand.
At least he got up and down from there, but it was a bogey six and even after saving par from 12 feet at the short 12th - he was in yet another bunker - he was down in 91st place.
Woods two-putted the tenth, but went over the next green and with a bogey was outside the cut line again at 73rd.
Meanwhile, Rose's lead was down to one over Donaldson and Dane Thorbjørn Olesen, both of whom were just starting the back nine.