The Plot Thickens: Day Two at the Dubai World Challenge
By Conor Nagle under European PGA Tour

Cool customer: Alvaro Quiros made six birdies and an eagle on Friday.

If the form of most players is best represented by a gently rolling sine wave, where modest peaks and troughs betoken a fundamental consistency, that of Alvaro Quiros is best likened to the heart monitor read-out of a hospital patient in spasm.

At his worst, the Spaniard’s a fixture at the outer limits of the golf course; a ball-striker with all the accuracy of a high-powered potato gun. But at his very best, he’s an irresistible talent.

Earlier this year, Quiros recorded a hole-in-one en route to capturing the Dubai Desert Classic. Today, he eagled the Earth course’s 600-yard closing hole to take a four-shot lead into the final 36 holes of the emirate’s World Challenge.

His second round 64 equalled the course record of Peter Hanson, set during yesterday’s opening round, and earned him an impressive aggregate total of 12-under-par in the process.

Lest one is tempted to consider the destination of the title a foregone conclusion, it’s worth bearing in mind the fortunes of the aforementioned overnight leader, who struggled on Friday to emulate the brilliance of his opening round and was forced to settle for a comparatively modest 72.

He finds himself alone in second place.

A little further down the leaderboard, a shot adrift of Hanson, one find the names of the Robert Rock and Rory McIlroy.

While the former will be pleased with his performance and the long-awaited discovery of some form on the greens, McIlroy will no doubt be frustrated by his inability to broaden, or at least maintain, his six-shot advantage over Luke Donald, the current leader of the Race to Dubai.

In need of the both a victory this week and for Donald, the current World Number One, to place lower than ninth, McIlroy carded a one-under-par 71 on Friday, three shots shy of the Englishman’s second-round total.

Donald, who will have been encouraged by his challenger’s failure to seize control of the tournament, now sits on the periphery of the top ten (-4) and comfortably within reach of that potentially crucial ninth place.

Two of the day’s other noteworthy performances came courtesy of Paul Casey (66) and Louis Oosthuizen (67), the chief protagonists of the 2010 Open Championship, both of whom have enjoyed decidedly mixed fortunes in the 16 months since. They sit in ties for fifth and seventh place, respectively.

Sergio Garcia (73) sits alongside Donald and Masters champion Charl Schwatzel (71) in a tie for 12th.

Conor Nagle