Wiratchant, winner of the last event on the Staysure Tour, the 2017 season-ending MCB Tour Championship, signed for what was a course-record equalling round of 65 to take the lead in the United Arab Emirates after the morning session concluded.
Dennis, the overnight leader after the first round, joined Wiratchant on 11 under par, but it was Fowler who stole the show, carding six birdies and an eagle to claim a new course record and sole possession of third place on nine under par.
“I really like it here,” said Fowler. “I enjoyed it last year and was looking forward to coming back. The weather is fantastic. Yesterday it was a bit cooler, and the ball didn’t go as far as it did in the heat this afternoon – it was tough to make the adjustments with the irons.
“I was a long way behind after some good scores this morning, and Clark was pretty hot as well. I had to put something good together today, which I did, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Winner of the John Jacobs Trophy for topping the Staysure Tour Order of Merit in 2017, Dennis recovered from a bogey on the first with birdies on the third, fourth and sixth holes, but bogeyed the ninth to make the turn just one under par.
The American then made further gains on the 13th, 15th and 17th holes, settling for a second round score of four under par.
“I played some good golf again today, but it was definitely more of a struggle than yesterday,” he said. “I didn’t quite have my ‘A’ game, but I still manage to hit some good shots on the back nine, which gave me a couple of birdies, so I’m really glad that I got to 11 under par heading into the final day.
“Even though we have played this course a few times, there is still a real challenge. The greens are fiery and firm so you have to be careful on every single hole.”
Wiratchant, who romped to victory at the MCB Tour Championship in December, setting a record-low 54-hole total on the Staysure Tour of 23 under par. The Thai admitted he feels at home in the heat of United Arab Emirates as temperatures reached 32 degrees.
“The weather is the same as I’m used to in Thailand, and the golf course is in great condition,” said Wiratchant. “I didn’t expect anything going into this event but, now I’m in this position, I want to go on and win.”
South Africa's James Kingston is fourth on seven under par, while Philip Golding and Miguel Angel Martin share fifth place on six under par.
Players will negotiate two loops of the nine-hole Peter Harradine-designed course at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club on Saturday, with pins changing location for the back nine configuration.