Date: February 02, 2013
Author: Omnisport

Fraser just off pace in Dubai

South African Richard Sterne retained his lead at the Dubai Desert Classic through a birdie on his last hole as Australian Marcus Fraser found himself four strokes off the pace on Friday. Sterne, though, who carded a 10-under-62 on Thursday at the Emirates Golf Club, was more subdued during his second round, shooting a 70 to move to 12-under overall. He leads by one stroke from Denmark&aposs Thorbjorn Olesen, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Scotsman Stephen Gallacher on 11-under. Sterne began his day with a birdie but was unable to repeat his heroics, with a bogey on the fourth his first blemish of the tournament. The 31-year-old produced further birdies on holes 10, 13 and 18 and although he also hit a late bogey, he recovered well to hole a birdie on the last. “The course was a lot tougher with the wind and the greens definitely firmed out a bit,” Sterne said. “I think it&aposs going to be quite tricky coming to the weekend. There&aposs a lot of guys bunched up and you&aposre going to have to play pretty well to be there on Sunday. “I had a long time sitting at home watching all the guys and especially the South Africans winning, so it&aposs nice to be back in the action and to have a chance.” Olesen put the pressure on throughout the day with a stellar 66, which included six birdies, four of which came in a row from holes 10 to 13. Olesen also avoided a blemish for the second day in succession and he looks to be a serious danger to Sterne across the weekend. Fleetwood and Gallacher fired 68 and 70 respectively, while a group of three players is a further shot off the pace in a tie for fifth. Of that trio, Dane Andreas Harto was the most impressive as he fired a round of 67, while German Maximilian Kieffer and Scotsman Chris Doak are also tied at 10-under. Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who finished in a tie for second at last week&aposs Qatar Masters, carded a five-under 67 on Friday taking him into a tie for eighth at nine-under alongside Frenchman Romain Wattel and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh. Australian Fraser sits one stroke further back after posting a three-under 69 on Friday. Fraser opened well with a birdie on the third, but this was immediately cancelled out by a bogey on the next hole. But the Australian finished with a flourish, producing birdies on three of the last four holes, for a three-under 69 score that sees him still in the hunt at eight under for the tournament. Aside from Fraser, it was a disappointing day for the Australian contingent as Brett Rumford, Richard Green, Andrew Dodt and Daniel Gaunt, along with New Zealand&aposs Michael Campbell, all missed the cut. Denmark&aposs Thomas Bjorn also just missed the cut, finishing at two-under, while other big names who will not feature on the weekend are Scotsman Colin Montgomerie (even), Italian Edoardo Molinari (four-over) and Europe&aposs 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley (seven-over).