Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros remain tied for the Hong Kong Open lead on seven-under-par after respective 69s in the second round.
Quiros, starting from the 10th, had three birdies to reach the turn in 32 but the Spaniard’s putter then let him down, leading to three bogeys and just one birdie on the way in.
Northern Irishman McIlroy also failed to cash in on a fast start, reaching nine under for the tournament with his fourth birdie of the day at the 12th.But poor drives at the 16th and 18th led to a pair of late bogeys and dropped him back into a share with Quiros.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t play as well as yesterday,” said Quiros.
“I managed the round well until the first hole, my 10th. I three-putted there, I three-putted the second and after that, I didn’t hole any good putts.
“Finishing with a bogey at the ninth was a bit frustrating but this is how it is.
“It’s a shame of a round because without these two three-putts, it was a proper number, nine-under would be great.”
The duo are one ahead of Thailand’s Panupol Pittayarat (65) and Scot Richie Ramsay (66), with Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (70), New Zealander Danny Lee (65) and Pariya Junhasavasdikul (65) a further stroke back.
Second round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-7 R McIlroy
-7 A Quiros (Spn)
-6 P Pittayarat (Tha)
-6 R Ramsey
-5 M Angel Jimenez (Spn)
-5 D Lee (NZ)
-5 P Junhasavasdikul (Tha) Click here for collated scores
“I played well. My score came out great and I had a good feeling about it. I was confident with my game today,” said Panupol.
“My goal was to make the cut and, well, I’m up here now. I’ll stick with my plan and whatever happens, happens.”
David Horsey, who started the day at the top of the leaderboard alongside McIlroy and Quiros, dropped back into the five-man group on four under after a two-over 72.
Horsey’s round included two birdies, two bogeys and a costly double-bogey six at the ninth, where he found the water.
“Not as good as yesterday obviously. I played alright, iron play was good but didn’t hit many fairways and if you miss the fairways, it’s difficult to control your second shot,” he said.
“But I scrambled pretty well, didn’t putt so well but it’s not too bad, it’s not going to be far away by the end of the day so hopefully I’ll go well at the weekend.”
Ian Poulter is one under par after the defending champion produced a 68 containing an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys in a 71 saw Padraig Harrington finish one-over as his hopes of sneaking into the Dubai World Championship receded.
Colin Montogmerie will be around for the weekend after a 69 saw the Scot make the cut on the number at two-over par.
Justin Rose missed out, however, the Englishman following an opening 74 with a 69 that left him three over for the tournament.