Fichardt draws on experience to get into Qatar contention

Darren Fichardt called on his years of experience to ease himself into second place at the halfway stage of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters being played at Doha Golf Club.

The 10-time winner on the Sunshine Tour carded a four-under-par 68 to slip into second, one stroke behind Austria’s Markus Brier who shot a fine six-under-par 66 to take the halfway lead on a day on which world number one Lee Westwood missed the cut, and Martin Kaymer, the man most likely to unseat Westwood, only just made it.

While Brier’s round was a flawless effort, Fichardt had four birdies dotted all over his scorecard, yet still managed to get it round in four-under 68 for a two-round total of six-under.

“In a way, it’s a positive thing,” said Fichardt. “I’m missing greens and I’m getting it up and down. If you have a round where you’re hitting every fairway and every green, and you’re not scoring, then you don’t know what’s happening.

“I know now that if I miss the greens, my short game’s good enough to get me out of trouble,” he added.

Fichardt is a former champion of the event, as is Retief Goosen, who led after the opening round which was played in extremely windy conditions.

Although there was still wind – “about two clubs less” according to Fichardt – Goosen looked set to lead at halfway too until a double-bogey five on the short 17th stopped him short. He finished in a share of sixth, together with Thomas Aiken who led at four-under after the morning field finished.

Open champion Louis Oosthuizen carded a three-under 69 to slip up to a share of 10th, five off the pace and still handily placed.

James Kingston and Keith Horne also made the cut, with Kingston battling to a two-over 74 to be two-over for the tournament, and Horne fighting back with a three-under 69 to make the cut on the number at three-over.

Hennie Otto joined Westwood’s distinguished company on the wrong side of the cut line, as did last week’s winner on the European Tour, Paul Casey.

Richard Sterne, still battling with his back injury, withdrew after the first round.

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