Anirban Lahiri missed out on a chance to make his way into the top-10 at the halfway stage, as he had a sloppy finish in the second round of the USD 8 million ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf here on Friday.
Lahiri, a three-time winner on the Asian Tour, shot a one-under 70 despite two late bogeys on 16th and 17th holes at the difficult Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Lahiri, who carded 72 on the first day, opened the round with a bogey on first, but over the next eight holes he birdied four times on second, fifth, eighth and ninth holes. Then following a string of pars, he bogeyed twice on 16th and 17th to finish tied 15th at the end of round two.
With winds swirling around the magnificent Royal Melbourne, scoring was not too easy.
Lahiri, at even par 142, is tied alongside the likes of Ryo Ishikawa (71-71), Vijay Singh (73-69) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (73-69).
Lahiri is eight shots behind leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, who followed up his first round 66 with a 68 in second round.
"(I am) a little disappointed with how I finished with two bogeys in the end. I think I played better than my score," admitted Lahiri.
"I think I played much better than yesterday. I hit it quite good starting out, made some putts but didn't finish well. Even par is not a bad place to be going into the weekend," he added.
For the second day in succession, Lahiri's teammate Gaganjeet Bhullar, struggled. After a first round 82, he carded a 77 and is dead last.
This is Lahiri's second week at Royal Melbourne after last week's missed cut outing at the Australian Masters and the Indian said it was one of those courses where one had to keep grinding it out.
"If you lose your concentration a little bit, the course can get you. I got a bit lucky on some holes. Couple of occasions today, I got lucky. One foot either side, I would have made a bogey and I made a birdie once. Similarly when I was coming in, just a foot to the left or right, I would have made par. So you win some and you miss some," said Lahiri, who carded four birdies against three bogeys.
"It's one of those courses where you have to keep grinding it out. If you're on a hot run, you want to keep the momentum. After last week, I'm quite happy with how I have played. I just like to finish the next two rounds under par. I'll be pretty happy.
"I was talking to my caddie and telling him that if I had not played last week, I would have definitely given two or three shots today and two yesterday. It's made a big difference around the greens and knowing what you need to do. That's where the challenge is.
"If I can stay in the red, I would have done well. It's just a matter of staying consistent out here," he explained.
Bjorn holds a one shot lead at the halfway stage. The 42-year-old Dane added a second round of 68 to his opening 66 to enter the weekend on eight under par, one stroke ahead of American Kevin Streelman.
Streelman had surged four shots clear in the early stages of the second day, but paid a high price for a thinned bunker shot on the ninth hole, where he made a double bogey.
But the 35-year-old can at least console himself with the knowledge that he and compatriot Matt Kuchar are on course to successfully defend the team title for America, after moving to ten under par at the midways stage.
The Danish team of Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen are the Americans' closest challengers on seven under par, thanks chiefly to the exploits of the senior partner.
Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Filipino Antonio Lascuna and Korean star K J Choi ensured a strong Asian presence in the top-10.
All three players will enter the weekend rounds in a share of ninth place, seven shots behind leader Bjorn.
Australia's Jason Day and Portugal's Ricardo Santos share third place on 138 in the individual category.