sport

Coetzee stays in front

South Africa's George Coetzee held on to his overnight lead with a second round of 69 in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Thursday.

Coetzee carded seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to reach 11-under-par 133 after 36 holes, one shot clear of England's Steve Webster, who also returned a 69.

Webster could not repeat the fireworks of his opening 65, when he recorded what is believed to be the first ever albatross on the opening hole of a tournament.

But the two-time European Tour winner still managed to chip in for a birdie on his first hole on Thursday and the 39-year-old added five more and three bogeys to finish 10 under.

"It was a little bit scrappy today," Webster told Sky Sports. "I missed the green with a lob wedge on the first and chipped in for a birdie which was nice. I played good but didn't give myself enough chances so 69, I'm happy with that."

Webster had holed his second shot to the par-five 10th - his first hole - from 254 yards on Wednesday, and was entertaining thoughts of an amazing repeat when he reached the hole again this morning.

"I had the perfect yardage for my five wood again but just pulled it a bit and hit it to 40ft," Webster added. "It was in my mind again and I thought back to back would be nice but it didn't happen.

"I was a bit disappointed how I played today, I warmed up great on the range at 5:30am but I never quite got going on the course. To shoot 69 I have scrambled a little bit."

Webster worked hard on his putting earlier in the week with coach Damian Taylor, who also works with Abu Dhabi Championship winner Pablo Larrazabal.

"It would be nice to do the double," Webster added. "We did a lot of work Monday and Tuesday on my putting, probably six hours, and changed the shaft in my putter for a little bit more feel and it's working well this week. If you can make a few putts it makes all the difference out here."

Coetzee, who finished second in Qatar last year when Chris Wood eagled the 72nd hole, said: "I enjoy this place and will be trying to do one better than last year.

"I just had a bit of a wobble on the 11th, my second hole, but otherwise I played pretty nicely. There are some bogeys out there but there's definitely some birdies to recover from."

The best round of the day so far had come from Sweden's Johan Carlsson, the Challenge Tour graduate carding a 65 containing eight birdies, an eagle and three bogeys.

That took him into a share of second place with Webster on 10 under par, with South African Thomas Aiken and France's Romain Wattel a shot behind after matching 68s.

American John Daly was among those another stroke back after a flawless 69 that was certainly a lot quieter than his garish trousers, with fellow former Open champion Paul Lawrie - twice a winner in Qatar - on seven under after a 70 he described as "a bit boring.''

A "bit boring'' also perfectly described the play of the star group of Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and Jason Dufner, who had managed just two birdies between them in their first eight holes.

Both of those had come from US PGA champion Dufner to lift him to four under par, while Stenson and Donald had both bogeyed the first and followed that with seven pars to lie three under and one over par respectively.

That meant former world number one Donald had work to do to make the halfway cut, which was predicted to fall at one under.

Donald produced the ideal response to the situation, making birdies at the 10th, 11th and 13th to climb inside the cut line on two under par.

At the top of the leaderboard, Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello - who led after the first and second round in Abu Dhabi last week - had joined Coetzee in the lead on 11 under with three birdies in four holes from the 12th.