Adrian Otaegui finished with a flourish on day two of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters as the Spaniard birdied the final three holes to edge clear of a bunched leaderboard, with a host of multiple European Tour winners on his tail at Doha Golf Club.
The 25 year old, opened with a birdie three at the first and three more gains – offset by a single dropped shot at the 13th – moved him right into the mix with three to play.
He saved the best until last, however, as Otaegui picked up three shots in the final three to sign for a six under 66 and move one shot clear at the top on 11 under.
Four players are a shot further back on ten under, including former Ryder Cup player Stephen Gallacher and three time European Tour winner Grégory Havret.
Havret’s French compatriot, Rafaël Jacquelin, had a day to remember in the Qatari capital as he holed out for a two at the par five tenth hole – the first albatross of his 23-year European Tour career.
“I started nicely with a birdie at the first and then lots of pars, although I gave myself lots of chances. Then I had another birdie at the seventh, started well on the back nine at ten and then birdied 11 and dropped a shot at the 13th, but I played great after that and finished birdie-birdie-birdie so I’m happy with my round.
“I’m really looking forward to the weekend now. I just wanted to stay patient hole after hole and we’ll see what happens.”
Erik van Rooyen
“Patience, I think that's been the key word the last couple of days. It's quite a tricky course and my first time I'm here so it's really fun out there. If you don't play within yourself the ball can get away from you so I think I've done a good job the last couple of days sticking to my plan. I keep hitting it in the fairway and rolling in a couple of nice putts.
“It's really special to be here, it's my first time in Qatar and the course is in really good shape. I know I'm ten under but it's playing tough out there if you start missing some shots. The whole experience has been fantastic.
“I’ve had to wait a long time for it but they are not very common so it was fantastic of course. I made a good move during today as well because I was playing well, two under front nine and then obviously after an albatross you feel a lot more comfortable.
“It was a perfect shot. It was a hybrid two, the yardage was 224 metres to the pin and I couldn’t have hit it better. A little kick right on the green took it straight in so it was fantastic. That’s the only word for it! It took 25 years but I’m very pleased with it.”