Jeff Winther will take a two shot lead into the weekend at the 2021 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters after making the most of favourable scoring conditions before the weather turned on day two.
The Dane began his second round at 6.45am on Friday and carded five birdies and a single bogey to post a second successive 67 and get to eight under par for the tournament.
The wind picked up significantly as the day wore on and none of the later starters were able to dethrone Winther as they bore the brunt of the conditions.
Finn Kalle Samooja and South African Darren Fichardt - who won this event in 2003 - both joined Winther at the summit during their second rounds but were unable to stay there as they each made two late bogeys to fall into a five way tie for second.
Joining Samooja and Fichardt on six under were American Kurt Kitayama, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and England's Jack Senior.
Play was suspended due to fading light at 5.40pm local time, with Joakim Lagergren, who is four under with three holes still to complete, one of 15 players who must return early on Saturday.
Morning starter Winther began the day three shots off the pace and remained at four under as he reached the turn after cancelling out his birdie at the second with a bogey on the sixth.
The 32-year-old caught fire after the turn, though, following up birdies at the tenth and 13th with back to back gains on the 15th and 16th - the latter coming courtesy of a 24 foot putt.
Winther, who finished in a tie for third here last year, is enjoying being back at Education City Golf Club and admitted he was fortunate to avoid the worst of the wind.
He said: "The wind is quite severe now. We were lucky. On the last three or four holes it was really starting to pick up. Playing around 15-20 yards further, you’ve got to be on your game.
"I love coming back here. I have good memories from last year even though two guys knocked me out.
"I really like this course - it’s great to play and the conditions are fantastic. I haven’t played for three weeks, but coming out here is fantastic.
"The greens are very nice. I don’t want to jinx myself but I think they are easy to putt on. They are very true. The condition is the same as last year, it’s beautiful."
Ryder Cup star Donaldson made four birdies and one bogey in his 68, while Senior achieved the same score thanks to an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys.
Fichardt also made an eagle in his second round 68 - holing out from 76 yards at the par four tenth - while Samooja mixed four birdies with four bogeys in a level par 71 and Kitayama carded six birdies and four bogeys in his 69.
Englishman Chris Wood was the only player in the field to keep his card clean on Friday, making three birdies and no bogeys in his 68.