Peter Lawrie leads the Irish challenge in Qatar
Damien McGrane shot a disappointing 72 at Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Peter Lawrie of Ireland had a promising second round at the first round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Peter Lawrie is the leading Irish man at the Qatar Masters after a second-round score of 68. Lawrie now sits joint-fourth on the leaderboard just three shots of current leaders George Coetzee, Bernd Wiesberger and Branden Grace.
Lawrie, playing in Doha on a sponsor’s invitation after just missing out on his card at qualifying school, opened with a confident opening round of 70 on Wednesday and replicated yesterday’s birdies on the first and 18th holes on Thursday, while he also struck on the fourth, seventh, ninth and tenth.
Bogeys on the fifth and 15th the only blotches on his card for the day. Michael Hoey is next best of the Irish on three under while Damien McGrane shot a level par round of 72 and is currently five shots off the lead.
Coetzee, Wiesberger and Grace may share the lead at the halfway stage but Marc Warren was the biggest mover. Coetzee improved on his opening-day 68 by a single stroke after mixing six birdies with a bogey in Doha while Wiesberger joined him on nine-under with a round of 66.
The Austrian - seeking his first European Tour win since 2012 - holed back-to-back birdies across four holes on the back nine to finish strongly and Grace’s measured four-under 68 steered him into a three-way tie for first place by Thursday evening. All one stroke behind the leading trio are Emiliano Grillo, An Byeong-hun and Scotland’s Warren, whose emphatic 65 lifted him from the mid-50s and right into trophy contention.
The highlight of the 33-year-old’s round was an eagle on the par-five first hole with only bogeys on three and 17 sullying the effect of seven more birdies around the Doha Golf Club course. Overnight leader Oliver Fisher of England slipped to 10th after following up his Wednesday score of 65 with a one-over-par 73 that included three bogeys and two birdies.
Also in the mix were Darren Fichardt, Richard Green and Alejandro Canizares but defending champion Sergio Garcia was struggling to break through after signing for a second consecutive 69. Justin Rose could only follow his opening-day score of 68 with a 73 after carding four bogeys across five holes on the back nine.