Rafa Cabrera-Bello birdied the final hole to take a one stroke lead after the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Dubai Golf Club was baked in sunshine as the Spaniard carded a five under 67 on Friday, leaving him on ten under for the tournament.
Cabrera-Bello was two under after the opening three holes before a bogey on the sixth set him back. Three more gains saw him draw level with clubhouse leaders Ernie Els, Trevor Fischer Jr and Danny Willett on nine under.
The 31-year-old was in trouble off the tee on the 18, but laid up with a beautiful recovery shot. After leaving himself a 12 footer for a birdie, he drained the putt to snatch the lead.
Three time winner Els impressed earlier in the day, with a superb second into the 18th that set him eagle chance, which he took.
Two shots back on eight under are England's Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, who are joined by Joost Luiten and Thorbjorn Olesen.
World number two Rory McIlroy failed to kick on from his opening round of 68 to card an even par 72, leaving him five shots off the pace.
Scotland’s Connor Syme and Englishman Matthew Jordan were also part of the successful quintet.
The English Open has been revived as part of the new schedule.
Close House Golf Club, near Newcastle, will host the British Masters on July 22.
The event was last staged in 2002.
The tournament at Close House, scheduled to start on July 30, is set to be the first European Tour event since the coronavirus crisis halted action.
The world number one believes it would be the ‘right call’ to push the event back to 2021.
The exhibition match, against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, raised 20 million dollars.
The Dutchman finished third and second in the first two weeks of the home-based competition.
NFL stars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will also be involved.