Andy Sullivan produced another solid round to stretch his lead at the top of the Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World to three strokes on Thursday.
The Englishman followed up his course record 61 on the opening day to finish with six-under-par 66 for a midway score of 17-under at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“Trying to follow a 61, the key is to stay patient and try and give myself as many chances as possible,” Sullivan, who teed off at after compatriot Ross Fisher had built a three-stroke lead with a second-round 67, said.
“When I was three under through nine today I didn’t feel as good as I did yesterday, but I knew if I kept giving myself opportunities coming in I would eventually take some.
“My processes were really good, I feel like I was seeing the line really well on the greens but my pace with the putts was a little strong today.
“I feel like I’ve got the golf ball under some sort of control at the moment and I feel comfortable out there – both off the tee and into the green. It’s a feeling that doesn’t happen too often.”
Tied for second in successive days are Fisher and Matt Wallace, both returning with 67 for a five-under par 14.
Fisher, who shot a 63 on Wednesday to trail Sullivan by two shots, rolled in five birdies in his second round in another impressive performance around the Fire Course.
“It was trickier today as it was bit fresher teeing off first thing in the morning and it was playing longer than yesterday,” Fisher said.
“Patience was a big thing, waiting for the weather to warm up so you could start hitting the clubs you were hitting yesterday. So, it was tricky out there but I managed to get away with no bogeys.
“Yesterday, making all those birdies and one eagle, you feel like the game is in good shape.
“I made five birdies today and there were probably at least a handful that slipped by, but I'm not going to stand here and complain that I've missed a few putts. I'm 14 under, haven’t made a bogey, so life’s pretty good.”
Wallace birdied the last to join Fisher on the same score after recovering from a solid if unspectacular start that included a bogey at the par-5 fifth.
“I’m very happy with where I’m at,” Wallace added. “I showed myself that I can be patient after a bad start.
“I kept saying to myself: ‘I shot 9 under yesterday, so I’m allowed to play bad – but I’m not allowed to get down on myself’. I knew I was playing well so I just had to commit to every shot, and I did that.
“I’m in a good place and I’m looking forward to playing with Ross and Andy – three English guys at the top is nice.”
Frenchman Antoine Rozner, who shared second spot overnight, was a stroke further back along with Scotland's Craig Howie and German Max Schmitt on 12 under.
Schmitt, who had local pro Sam Taylor carrying his bag, is well positioned after a 64 punctuated by eight birdies while Howie followed Wednesday’s 64 with a 68. Rozner added a second-round 69 to his opening 63.
England’s Steven Brown was one of the day's biggest movers after signing off for a 9-under 63 to climb over 40 places into a share of seventh alongside a host of players on 11-under par, including 2018 Ryder Cup star Thorbjorn Olesen.