Eight players are separated by a single shot at the halfway stage of the Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain – with Miguel Angel Jimenez among them despite breaking his putter in two pieces.
A moment of anger after a series of misses might have cost the 47-year-old Spaniard dear, but in a remarkable closing stretch he had a hat-trick of birdies using his lob-wedge instead.
Round in a seven-under-par 65, he leads going into the weekend on an 11-under 133 along with his Ryder Cup team-mates Peter Hanson and Edoardo Molinari plus France's Raphael Jacquelin.
Darren Clarke, Paul Casey, South African James Kingston and the Scot Stephen Gallacher – who equalled the course record with a 64 – are one shot behind.
Jimenez could laugh about it all after picking up shots at the 15th, 16th and 17th. "I think now I putt with my lob-wedge," he joked.
In contrast, Molinari's start made his day. He birdied the first six holes and closed with another for a 65 as he looked for a win that could take him back above his brother Francesco, the world No 15, in the rankings – himself well in the hunt at nine under. The Swedish overnight leader, Johan Edfors, fell back with a 71.
Sergio Garcia, playing his first event of the year, is in the group just three behind after a rollercoaster 69, but Padraig Harrington still has six shots to make up. Both Colin Montgomerie and Ian Poulter made the cut with only a stroke to spare at three under.Reuse content