Thomas Aiken went calmly about his business on Friday to open out a three-stroke lead over a charging Tiger Woods in the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Aiken carded his second consecutive five-under par to move to 10-under at halfway, as Woods went six-under to move to seven-under for the tournament.
He made his only bogey in 36 holes on the 16th Â his seventh of the day after he started on the 10th Â but he birdied 18 to turn in two-under 35, and three more birdies on the closing nine saw him into his strong position.
ÂI thought my way around the golf course the last two days and itÂs working,Â he said. ÂThis is my 10th year as a professional, so I like to think IÂve got a bit of experience behind me.Â
The other South African in the field who reached halfway in the morning field was Richard Sterne, who followed up his four-under opener with a gutsy level-par 72.
ÂI feel like IÂve been putting myself in position to win a golf tournament, and just havenÂt been getting it done on the weekend,Â said Aiken.
Aiken is still looking for a maiden European Tour title, but continued the excellent form that has brought him six top-14 finishes in seven events this season.
ÂJust been really consistent and it shows in the results, and been really happy with the way that IÂve been playing. If I keep putting myself in these positions, itÂs inevitable that something will happen.Â
With the former world number one on his heels Â and Lee Westwood is lurking two shots further back too Â Aiken knows there is plenty of work to be done.
It is almost 15 months since Woods last tasted victory, and Westwood, who took over as world number one last October, is in the hunt too, but a closing bogey left him on five under following a 70.
ÂGolf is not a sprint,Â Aiken said, ÂitÂs a marathon and if you end up sprinting in a marathon, youÂll never finish. So IÂm just going to stay patient and hit the shots that I know I can.Â