Spanish legend Sergio Garcia shot a bogey-free six-under-par 66 to share the halfway lead in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters with German star Martin Kaymer, Marcus Fraser of Australia and Ricardo Santos of Portugal.
Kaymer and Fraser each shot 67 to post the clubhouse lead at nine-under and were later joined by first-round leader Santos, who signed for a 70, and a charging Garcia, who lit up the Doha Golf Club with six birdies to join a tightly packed leaderboard.
George Coetzee (67), Felipe Aguilar (67), Michael Campbell (68), Thorbjorn Olesen (68) and Gary Lockerbie (69) all share fifth place a shot back.
World Number Four Justin Rose, the top-ranked player in the field, carded a 71 to share 20th place at five-under, one ahead of World Number Five Louis Oosthuizen, who signed for a 69.
American star Jason Dufner (70), the World Number 11, was a further shot back at three-under and will be among many players chasing Ryder Cup heroes Garcia and Kaymer in the third round on Friday.
Garcia birdied holes four, seven, nine, 10, 12 and 16 as he bids to finally get his hands on the Mother of Pearl Trophy in his eighth appearance in Doha. The 33-year-old has posted four top-10 finishes in his last five appearances, including a share of fifth last February.
"I start my year here most of the time, so that shows you how much I enjoy it here and how much I like it. It would be nice to be able to get a win, but it's already nice to shoot some good rounds to start with," said Garcia, a 10-time European Tour winner who claimed his eighth US PGA Tour title last August.
"Today was nice. I definitely feel like I played a little bit better than yesterday. I hit a good amount of good shots. I gave myself a lot of good chances for birdies, hit some good putts that didn't go in and then made some nice ones, too. So overall, I can't be disappointed."
Kaymer's quest to claim a first Qatar title continued as he also carded a bogey-free round, playing in the marquee group with Rose and Oosthuizen. The German, who holed the putt that ensured Europe retained the Ryder Cup last September, teed off on 10 and birdied 13, 17 and 18 before picking up further shots on five and eight.
"I think nine‑under is a good position to be in. I played a lot better than my last few rounds, especially in Abu Dhabi. Still, I was a little fortunate today with a few putts that dropped, although on those greens that happens sometimes," said Kaymer, who is looking to add to his 10 European Tour titles.
"It was good to play with Justin and Louis, as we had a good time, so now we look forward to the weekend."
Fraser, playing three groups ahead, parred every hole on the back nine, but then roared home in 31 with birdies at the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh.
"It's one of those courses where you just have to keep plodding along and take your chances when they come," said the 34-year-old, whose only bogey so far came when he three-putted the short 13th on day one.
Reigning Open Champion Ernie Els, the four-time Major winner, just made the cut at one-under with a 71, but defending champion Paul Lawrie will not win a record third title this year after just missing the cut following a second even-par 72.
Rose, runner-up in Abu Dhabi last week, had been moving along nicely with two birdies on the back nine. However, bogeys on holes one and six set him back before a birdie at eight helped him to a 71 and left him within reach at five-under.
Fast-rising South African star Branden Grace, a four-time winner on last year's European Tour, shot 68 to lie six-under.
The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters will finish on a Saturday for the first time.