Lesser lights shining in Doha

An event boasting the world’s top two players resumed in Doha today with players ranked 478th and 399th in the lead

A European Tour event which had boasted the world’s top two players resumed in Doha ton Saturday morning with golfers ranked 478th and 399th at the top of the leaderboard.
Austrian Markus Brier and South African Darren Fichardt were the pair in question, setting the halfway pace after the second round of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters at the tough and windy Doha Golf Club.
Wofrld No 1 Lee Westwood was nowhere to be seen.
He had missed a cut for the first time in just over a year with rounds of 73 and 75 on the same layout where he finished third last year.
Now second-ranked Martin Kaymer could take over at the top Of the World Rankings list on Sunday, although the German has to climb from 57th place overnight to first or second for that to happen and hasn’t shown the kind of form this week to make that happen after starting out with a 77 in round one.
Three months ago Brier, one ahead of Fichardt at seven under par, was at the Tour’s qualifying school fighting for his future.
The 42-year-old made it through the 108-hole marathon with not a single shot to spare, but he still needed a sponsor’s invitation to be part of the action this week.
“I’m very grateful and I hope I can make the most of it,” said the two-time Tour winner after adding a 66 to his opening 71.
Fichardt won this event in 2003, but following a neck injury, lost his card four years ago and is in the field as a past champion.
“My game’s been good, but I’ve just not been playing in the right events,” he said. Victory now would change that instantly.
Even with Westwood off to Dubai to prepare for next week’s Desert Classic – Tiger Woods is also playing there – and Kaymer trailing well behind, Brier and Fichardt have some quality men on their heels.
Paul Casey missed the cut along with Westwood, but defending champion Robert Karlsson, former Irish Open champion Richard Finch and ex-Ryder Cup player Thomas Bjorn resumed on four under.
The group one further back included major winners Retief Goosen and Paul Lawrie. Current Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was only five behind so this event is far from being decided.