SERGIO GARCIA and Martin Kaymer, Ryder Cup teammates who both ended last year lifting a trophy, are part of a four-way tie for the halfway lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
But Paul Lawrie, another of Europe’s heroes in Chicago, saw his defence of the title come to a premature end after a four-putt double bogey on the 15th hole. He missed the cut by a single stroke.
Playing partner Garcia shot 66 and Kaymer returned a 67 to be alongside Marcus Fraser and Ricardo Santos on nine under par.
Garcia underwent laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism following the victory over the Americans in September, but finished 2012 with a round of 61 for a three-shot win at the Johor Open in Malaysia.
That came two weeks after Kaymer took the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa by two. While the German played in Abu Dhabi last week and came joint, sixth this is Garcia’s first appearance of the season.
Graeme Storm missed the cut after a second round 72 left him one over and he fell two shots short of the line.
First-round leader Santos followed up his 65 with a 70, making a fine up and down from the bunker at the par five last, while Fraser did the same on the long ninth to complete his 67.
Justin Rose made his first cut in five visits to Doha but with a 71 for five under last week’s runner-up has four strokes to make up and lies joint 20th.
Rose had only himself to blame for a bogey six at the 591-yard first. That was his 10th hole of the round and he sent his second shot way right into the desert scrub and needed three more just to make the green.
Ernie Els made it through with nothing to spare on one under, but Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley also bowed out, as did predecessors Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie.