sport

Campbell shares early Doha lead

Michael Campbell took more steps on the comeback trail by moving into a share of the early lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Doha.

Only six months ago the 43-year-old New Zealander was not even in the world's top 900 and had made just two halfway cuts in the best part of a year.

Then came a third-place finish at the Portugal Masters, an eighth in Hong Kong and three other top-20 finishes - the latest of them in Abu Dhabi last week.

In the second leg of the European Tour's Middle East swing Campbell birdied the 11th and long 18th to turn in 34 and at two under par was part of an amazing 15-way tie for the lead.

Former winners Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson - another fighting his way back up the rankings after a slump - stood on the same mark, as did Scot Peter Whiteford and English trio Chris Wood, Anthony Wall and Gary Lockerbie.

Sergio Garcia was one behind after seven holes in his first start of the year, while defending champion Paul Lawrie, playing with the Spaniard and Open champion Els, was level par.

Campbell improved to three under with a 14-foot putt at the 433-yard second - his 11th - but followed it with a bogey four.

Stenson was the one setting the pace by then. Winner of the South African Open last month - his first victory since 2009 - the Swede added further birdies at the 18th, second and fourth to reach five under.

He led by one from Londoner Wall, who covered the front nine in just 32 strokes to make the most of a calm morning on a course known for its wind.

Garcia was alongside Campbell on two under after getting up and down from just short of the green at the 589-yard 18th, but Els was one further back after bogeying the short 17th and Lawrie remained level par with seven holes remaining.

Stenson could not keep his run going, bogeys at the sixth and seventh being followed by a trip to the water on the short eighth.

The former Ryder Cup player did well to limit the damage to a third successive bogey, but was three behind Wall and Whiteford, both of whom still had seven holes to play.

Campbell rolled in a 15-foot closing birdie putt for a four-under 68 and set the early clubhouse target along with Dane Anders Hansen.