India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a one-under 71 to make the cut but compatriot Shubhankar Sharma could not hang around for weekend action after scoring a three-over 75 in the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai on Friday.
Bhullar birdied the 17th to ensure an under-par round and got to even par 144 for 36 holes at the halfway stage.
Soon after Bhullar, who is now T-32, confirmed action over the weekend, Shubhankar seemed to be making up for his first day 77 with a birdie-birdie start. But he lapsed on the back nine and exited early at 8-over 152.
If the morning belonged to Eddie Pepperell (67) who moved to the very top despite a closing bogey, Tommy Fleetwood (65) was in a zone of his own in more difficult conditions in the afternoon.
Fleetwood moved to 4-under 140 and T-11, an upward movement of 63 places.
South African Dean Burmester (69-68), recovered from being shaken by a taxi accident on Wednesday, and Robert Karlsson (69-68) were T-2 and later joined by defending champion Bryson DeChambeau (70-67).
Bhullar opened with a bogey and did not have a great front nine as he turned in one-over with a birdie on seventh and another bogey on eighth.
He came back on the back nine with three birdies, though the pull into the rough on the right on 16th cost him a bogey. He birdied 10th and 13th and added another shot on 17th, but missed one by a whisker on 18th.
“It was not easy. You cannot take your mind or eye off. The smallest error can be costly and the conditions are tough,” said Bhullar. “It is nice to get into the weekend comfortably and hopefully the last two (rounds) will be better and I can get a good start to the season.”
Sharma after two birdies suffered a double bogey on the 12th, his third hole. Despite two more birdies on 13th and 18th, it was generally downhill on the second nine for the Indian as he went three-over 75.
Pepperell’s 67 had seven birdies and one bogey on either side to go to 8-under 136, one shot clear of Burmester.
Making use of the lighter winds in the morning, Pepperell coming off two missed cuts, was as usual witty.
“I got off to a nice start really and, yeah, for the most part it was very, very good until the cameras came along. I must have been concerned with how I was looking, because then I started struggling.”
Lee Westwood (68) was the most prominent one among those making up for their first round’s disappointing cards.
Shooting 78 in the first round, last week’s winner, Westwood faced early departure, before a birdie-birdie finish gave him a reprieve.
Also making it on the line were Danny Willett (76-70), Nicolas Colsaerts (77-69) and Aaron Rai (77-69).
Overnight leader Thomas Pieters (67-77) was among those who had a disappointing morning, as he slipped to T-32.