DOHA // Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello continued his excellent desert form to take a two-shot cushion after the second round of the Qatar Masters on Thursday.
Cabrera-Bello, 29, who finished joint fourth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week and won the 2012 Dubai Desert Classic, carded a 65 for a 13-under total at Doha Golf Club.
In the process, he overtook overnight leader George Coetzee, who is alone in second at 11 under, while Englishmen Steve Webster and Matthew Baldwin were another shot back, along with rising Swedish player Johan Carlsson.
Coetzee retained his one-shot advantage after finishing his round in the morning, but Cabrera-Bello stormed up the leaderboard in the afternoon with a brilliant show over the back nine, during which he picked up five strokes.
The Spaniard finished his round in style by draining a putt from 10 feet on the 18th, his fourth during the last five holes.
Coetzee, the runner-up in Qatar last year, was not complaining, despite dropping four shots, which included a double-bogey six on the 474-yard 11th hole, his second.
“Just told myself, make some putts, and luckily I did. Yeah, I felt quite good.
“There were some bogeys out there, but definitely some birdies, too,” Coetzee said.
“I enjoy this place, so obviously I’ll be trying to do one better than last year and just keep doing what I’m doing and make some putts.”
Webster’s record albatross on the first hole of the first round continued to be the talking point in Doha, with many wondering if he could repeat the feat on the same hole in the second round.
The Englishman, too, admitted he had thoughts of an encore, though he settled for a birdie.
“I had perfect yardage again, but I pulled it a bit and ended up 40 feet away. It was on my mind,” Webster said after his round, which included three bogeys.
“Yeah, I was disappointed how I played today. Warmed up on the range this morning at half five, and it was quite early and I never really quite got going on the course. So to shoot 69, I’ve scrambled a little bit, which is great.”
Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE