Jon Rahm was happy to be "trending positively" after a strong second round at the 2022 DP World Tour Championship that he felt could have been even better.
Rahm shot a Friday 66 in Dubai to reach the halfway point in a share of fifth place on eight under par alongside fellow Spaniard Jorge Campillo and one behind another compatriot in Adri Arnaus.
An impressive putting performance on the front nine brought Rahm birdies from 16 feet at the second and 21 at the fourth, and he made further gains on the sixth and seventh before his only dropped shot of the outward half at the ninth.
He pulled that back immediately by holing from 13 feet at the next and despite further birdies at the 12th and 15th, Rahm felt he could have put himself closer than four shots off the lead shared by Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick.
"It was a really good round of golf," he said.
"I can't help to think on what could have been. Obviously I played a really good back nine.
"I hit good putts on 11, 13 and 14 that didn't go in; a bit of a mistake on 16 with a wedge in my hands, if that drive on 18 goes a yard left, I'm looking at going for the green. Those are the things that if they happen, you shoot an amazing round.
"But it was good, that's all I can say. Did a lot of good things and just trending positively. Just hope it keeps getting better on the weekend."
Rahm is in action for the first time since winning last month's acciona Open de España presented by Madrid, having finished tied for second at the BMW PGA Championship prior to that.
And he said: "I got pretty tired of hearing 'you're having an off-year'. Maybe the standard I've set has got you guys used to seeing me win more often, or at least having the chance to win more often.
"It wasn't a bad year, two wins and a lot of top tens. The one thing I think that would have made it better for myself at least would have been having a chance at Majors.
"U.S. Open I was there, but for the other three I was non-existent. To be there on Sunday at least having the chance would have made it a little better."
Arnaus brilliantly eagled the last from 21 feet to leapfrog Rahm and Campillo into a share of third place with Alex Noren, three shots off the lead.
"Really, really pleased with the first two days," said Dubai-based Arnaus. "A bit scrappy at times but always kept it together in the moment and I was able to finish off in a great way, so really happy.
"I enjoy this week every time. It's a big tournament for me. I'm staying at home and I have friends over and family, so an enjoyable week."
Campillo shrugged off an opening bogey to fire eight birdies, five of them before the turn, in a 65 which was beaten by only Wu Ashun for the low round of the day.
"It was a tough start," said Campillo. "After that, I played solid and I putted great, so it was a great day of putting. Too bad I missed the last one on 18 but it was a great putting day overall.
"I got myself three birdies in a row and got my round going, so I guess I got momentum going with me. I know that the odds are not with me and people will think I have no chance of winning, and even myself sometimes. You never know."