DUBAI, United Arab Emirates --
Overnight leader Richard Sterne made a birdie on the 18th hole Friday to take a one-shot lead over Thorbjorn Olesen and two others after the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Sterne, a South African who has struggled with injuries, finished with a 2-under 70 and 12-under 132 total. Olesen (66), Tommy Fleetwood (68) and Stephen Gallacher (70) were a shot back.
Chris Doak (69), Andreas Harto (67) and Maximilian Kieffer (68) were two shots off the pace.
Sergio Garcia (67) was three strokes back despite struggling with shoulder problems that required treatment midway through his round, and which were so bad he thought he might have to withdraw.
Garcia had treatment after his opening 68, and his second round included a ball stuck up a palm tree.
"On the 14th green (his fifth) I told my caddie if it does not get any better after 18 we will probably walk," Garcia said after his round. "Then unfortunately we started making birdies and eagle! I thought 'What do we do now?' because what I don't want is to keep building up and not really recover it.
"I got the physio out and he worked on it," he added. "It feels a little bit better, but needs to get better."
Lee Westwood, ranked No. 8 in the world, shot a 71 to trail by six shots, while two-time major winner Mark O'Meara (74) is just under the projected cut at 2 under. Westwood has six shots to make up – and more than 25 players to get past – after a bitterly disappointing finish.
Westwood drove wildly into the sandy waste on the 359-yard 17th and double-bogeyed one of the easiest holes on the Emirates Course, where he has three times been a runner-up, then failed to get up and down from just over the last green.
A closing birdie enabled Sterne to regain a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage and keep him on track for a sixth European Tour victory. He was in the world's top 30 before a long battle with a back injury and currently ranks only 165th.
He resumed with a birdie, but bogeyed the fourth and 14th and needed more birdies at the three par 5s on the back nine to grab the top spot back.
"The course was a lot tougher with the wind and the greens definitely firmed out a bit," he said. "I think it's going to be quite tricky coming to the weekend. There's a lot of guys bunched up and you're going to have to play pretty well to be there on Sunday.
"I had a long time sitting at home watching all the guys and especially the South Africans winning, so it's nice to be back in the action and to have a chance."
Former European Challenge Tour winner Fleetwood, has yet to drop a stroke.
"It's just nice to be up there with all these great names," said the 22-year-old, who was tied for the lead until Sterne's late strike. "I felt fine – I'd rather be there than anywhere else."
Gallacher, 38-year-old nephew of ex-Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher, has lifted only one European Tour title in more than 400 starts going back 20 years. But he tied for second with Westwood here a year ago and kept alive his hopes of going one better by matching Sterne's round.
Olesen is seen as one of Europe's brightest prospects. He has already secured a debut at the Masters in April, and two weeks ago shared the runner-up spot with Justin Rose at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
"I believe in myself and want to achieve my own goals – that's the biggest pressure," the 23-year-old from Denmark said after a 66 that began with four successive birdies and again did not contain a single bogey. "I'm hungry for more wins. I want to win twice this season. That's my main goal, so the quicker I can get the first one the better."