On Friday Richard Sterne carded a steady 71 to stay within the top 15 ahead of the cut at the Omega Dubai Desert Masters at Emirates Golf Club.
He opened with an impressive 66 and launched into a share of fourth, but his second round was slower affair and left him to settle at seven-under, six strokes behind leaders Rory McIlroy and Thomas Bjorn.
The day was quiet for Sterne, who began at the par-five 10th and made a disappointing par. He marked his front nine with a lone birdie at the 13th before carding a string of pars and turned at one-under for the day.
His second loop looked set to get going when he birdied the third, but an immediate drop at the fourth punctured any momentum he had gained. He played put out with his second string of five pars and signed for 71.
Jbe Kruger also battled around on the second day and carded a forgettable 73, dropping into a share of 53rd at two-under. Joining him at two-under were James Kingston and Branden Grace, who shot 70 and 71 respectively. With Grace named European Tour Golfer of the Month for January and Kingston finishing tied 20th last week, both players looked set to earn decent cheques by the close of Sunday.
For Sterne, however, the focus will be steadily shifting towards the trophy and competing against European Tour stalwarts such as Martin Kaymer, Thomas Bjorn and a certain Northern Irish wunderkind.