First-round pacesetter George Coetzee carded a three-under-par 69 on Thursday to post the clubhouse lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters after the completion of the morning rounds at Doha Golf Club.
Coetzee opened with a 64 and the 27-year-old South African moved to 11-under at the halfway stage to stay one ahead of Steve Webster (69), while towering Swede Johan Carlsson shot a 65 to join the Englishman at 10-under. South African Thomas Aiken (68) and Frenchman Romain Wattel (68) were nine-under.
John Daly continued his love affair with Doha as the American two-time major winner shot a 69 to lie eight-under, level with Sweden’s Peter Hanson (67), Englishman Anthony Wall (66) and South African Branden Grace (69).
Coetzee, joint runner-up with Sergio Garcia last year, teed off on 10 and started with a birdie and a double bogey, before recording birdie-bogey-birdie from 14. He repeated the birdie-bogey-birdie sequence from the second hole and then picked up shots at six and seven to seize the lead.
“I just told myself to make some putts and luckily I did. I felt quite good. I just had a bit of trouble on the 11th, my second hole, but otherwise I played pretty nicely. There were some bogeys out there, but definitely some birdies, too,” said Coetzee, who is bidding for his first European Tour title.
“I enjoy this place, so obviously I'll be trying to do one better than last year, and just keep doing what I'm doing and make some putts.”
Daly was one of the more surprising names on the leaderboard, but the colourful 47-year-old has a liking for the long Championship Course as he showed two years ago by finishing fourth on his event debut, his best result on The European Tour since finishing runner-up at the 2009 Italian Open.