Overnight leader Richard Sterne sank a birdie on 18 to take a one-shot lead over Danish youngster Thorbjorn Olesen and two others at the halfway point of the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday.
Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia pulled to within three of Sterne despite struggling with shoulder problems that required treatment midway through his round.
Sterne, a South African who has struggled with his own injuries in recent years, finished the day with a 12-under total of 132. Olesen, Tommy Fleetwood and Stephen Gallacher were a shot back.
Chris Doak (69) of Scotland, Andreas Harto (67) of Denmark and Maximilian Kieffer (68) of Germany were two shots off the pace in fifth.
Three others, including Garcia (67) and Jeev Milkha Singh (67) were a further shot back in a four-way tie for eighth.