Shiv Kapur flirted with danger as he dropped two bogeys in the last four holes, but still just about managed to make the halfway cut at two-under in the 25th Omega Dubai Desert Classic golf, here on Friday.
Kapur was the only Indian to fall inside the cut line as Jeev Milkha Singh (75-69) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (77-74) exited early from the tournament.
The 31-year-old Kapur, who has made the cut in each of his four starts on the 2013-14 European Tour season, looked well set at one point of time when he was four-under for the day after 13 and had avoided any bogeys till then.
Meanwhile at the top, Rory McIlroy overcame a late blip in the form of bogeys on the 13th and 16th, drained a birdie on the 18th to ensure sole lead for the second day running.
McIlroy till then shared the top spot with American Brooks Koepka (65), whose flawless seven-under round put him at 10-under.
McIlroy, who went through his front nine in two-under 33, went to 12-under for the tournament with a birdie on 10th. Then came the two bogeys before he hauled himself back to the top on the 18th. Koepka at 10-under was sole second.
Tiger Woods (73) had a tough day with just two bridies against three bogeys and was way down in tied 44th place and made the cut with just one shot to spare.
Kapur said there were some tricky pins but he played solid.
"I played really well, even though it was windy when I played my round. At four-under with five holes to go, I felt I could do better, but I dropped that bogey on seventh where I went into the greenside bunker and then hit it to seven feet and missed the putt," Kapur said.
"A pity about that last bogey. But with morning conditions tomorrow I hope to go low and go up on the leaderboard," he added.
Jeev had five birdies, but will rue his two bogeys as he missed the cut by two. Bhullar, meanwhile, just could not get going and did not have a single birdie in his 74.
Woods, who has won twice here, was in top-five in each of his first appearances in Dubai, but finished tied 20th in last appearance here in 2011. He skipped the Dubai event for Abu Dhabi in 2012 when he was third and in 2013 he missed the cut.
The 24-year-old McIlroy had a bit of a struggle with three bogeys and five birdies, but he was never able to get the momentum to build a commanding halfway lead. In the end, he was just one shot ahead of Koepka, whose flawless 65 equalled the lowest score of the day, and two ahead of the trio of Julian Quesne (66-70), Danny Willett (71-65) and Damien McGrane (66-70).
England's Danny Willett also shot 65 to share third place on eight under alongside Ireland's Damien McGrane and France's Julien Quesne.
European Number One Henrik Stenson (67), defending champion Stephen Gallacher (71) and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee (69) were among seven players who were at seven-under 137.
McIlroy dropped his first shot of the tournament on his opening hole today and also hit bad drives at the next two holes, even though he recovered well enough to birdie the par-5 third.
He also picked shots at the fifth and seventh, at which point it seemed he might pull away from the field.
"I thought so, yes (pulling away from the field)," said McIlroy. "Making a few birdies on the front nine and turning two under par was a good effort, especially as the wind started to get up.
"I birdied ten, played 11 and 12 okay but then missed that little one (a par putt from inside two feet) on 13, had a chance on 15 and didn't convert and made bogey on 16, but it was nice to birdie the last and at least give myself a one shot lead going into tomorrow. I will just go back tonight and regroup and realise that I am still leading the tournament. I hit a couple of loose drives which I haven't done the last couple of weeks but I still feel like I'm playing well enough to go and win the tournament," McIlroy said.
Stenson could well be one of McIlroy's biggest challengers as he showed with his excellent recovery from being three-over par after five holes in first round, which he finally completed in 70 and on Friday he had a bogeyfree 67.