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Australian Haydn Barron dominates 'beast' of a course to seize Qatar Masters lead

Australia's Haydn Barron will take a two-shot lead into the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters after taming a "beast" of a course at Doha Golf Club.

Barron added a flawless 67 to his opening 68 on the 7,532-yard layout, four birdies in his last five holes giving the Qualifying School graduate a halfway total of nine under par.

Compatriot Harrison Endycott and Japan's Rikuya Hoshino share second place on seven under, with in-form South African Zander Lombard and Denmark's Niklas Norgaard another stroke back.

Barron, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Thursday, said: "It was a good day; it got off to a bit of a slow start, nine pars in a row on the front nine.

"I was hitting really good shots, playing really well, the putts were just sliding by and then hit one just through the green on 10 and chipped one close to set up my first birdie and felt a bit of momentum and rolled a couple in coming in.

"The first nine was pretty calm and it was a bit frustrating to not make anything, but the second nine the wind picked up and had to try to flight the ball a bit better, hit it in some good spots under the hole and you can have a run at it from under the hole round here.

"It's a beast of a golf course. You've really got to strike it well, you've got to be in the fairway and sometimes you've just got to hit to the middles of the greens and take your 60, 70-footer if you're out of position.

"It's definitely a course that requires a bit of wit and some smarts."

Northern Ireland's Tom McKibbin, Denmark's Rasmus Hojgaard and the English pair of James Morrison and Sam Bairstow were part of a 10-strong group four shots off the lead on five under.

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