GARY Lockerbie, in his third spell as a European Tour player, is right in the mix at the halfway stage of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The former English Amateur champion from Penrith is one of nine players standing within one shot of each other at the top of the leaderboard, following up his first round 67 with a three-under 69.
Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, Ryder Cup team-mates who both finished last year lifting a trophy, are part of a four-way tie at the top.
The 30-year Lockerbie is among five players tied fifth after signing for five birdies and two bogeys.
North East pros Graeme Storm (73 72) and Chris Paisley (75 79) missed the cut, in Paisley’s case by 11 shots on a 10-over total of 154 tied third from bottom in 122nd place.
New Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley also bowed out, as did his two immediate predecessors Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie.
Paul Lawrie, another of Europe’s heroes in Chicago, saw his defence of the title come to a premature end after a four-putt double bogey on the 15th hole. He missed the cut by a single stroke.
Playing partner Garcia shot 66 and Kaymer returned a 67 to be alongside Australian Marcus Fraser and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos on nine under par.
Garcia underwent laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism following the victory over the Americans in September, but finished 2012 with a round of 61 for a three-shot win at the Johor Open in Malaysia.
That came two weeks after Kaymer, the man who sank the putt to retain the Ryder Cup and leapt into the Spaniard’s arms, took the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa by two.
While the German played in Abu Dhabi last week and came joint, sixth this is Garcia’s first appearance of the season.
“It was nice - I definitely felt I played a little bit better than yesterday,” the 32-year-old said after his six birdies.
“Obviously I would have loved to hit a couple of shots better, but I gave myself a lot of chances and I can’t be disappointed.
“The wind started picking up a bit and it made it tough enough to choose the right clubs. We tried to play smart and managed to do that fairly nicely.”
First-round leader Santos followed up his 65 with a 70, making a fine up and down from the bunker at the par five last, while Fraser did the same on the long ninth to complete his 67.
World number four Justin Rose made his first cut in five visits to Doha – “that’s almost like leading the tournament round here,” he joked – but with a 71 for five under last week’s runner-up has four strokes to make up and lies joint 20th.
Rose, penalised a shot on the opening day when his ball moved as he prepared to tap in on the 17th, had only himself to blame for a bogey six at the 591-yard first.
That was his 10th hole of the round and he sent his second shot way right into the desert scrub and needed three more just to make the green.
He dropped another after driving into sand on the 10th, but made a 15-footer for birdie at the short eighth.
Twice champion Lawrie was unable to recover from his nightmare four holes from home.
The Scot’s long birdie attempt from the front fringe finished three feet from the flag and he three-putted from there before missing a six-foot chance to survive on the last.