(CNN) -- Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee carded a bogey-free round of 66 on Friday to claim a one-shot halfway lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.
The world No.59 followed his opening round 70 with a six-under-par second round to lie on 136 -- ahead of a group of three players.
The 40-year-old Thai won two European Tour events last season and believes that long hours on the putting green have helped to improve his game.
"I played very consistent, it was a solid day," he told the European Tour's official Web site. "I hit 13 greens in regulation and missed just five fairways. I am very confident because my putting is getting better, that's why my game is getting better."
Race to Dubai champion Lee Westwood fired a flawless 65 to head the chasing pack alongside Stephen Dodd and Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Jimenez carded seven birdies in his 67, while Welshman Dodd remained in contention with a bogey-free 69.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy (70), Edoardo Molinari (70), Alvaro Quiros (69), Australia's Marcus Fraser (68) and Charl Schwartzel (70) are all well placed on six-under-par.
There is then a two-stroke gap to Paul Casey (71), Graeme McDowell (68) and Jeev Milkha Singh (72).
World number nine McIlroy briefly established a three-shot lead following a run of four consecutive birdies around the turn.
But the 20-year-old, who claimed his first and only career title with a wire-to-wire victory here 12 months ago, found water at the last to card a double-bogey and finish with a round of 70.