PETER LAWRIE rose splendidly to the daunting challenge posed by South African sharp-shooter Richard Sterne at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Ever-steady Dubliner Lawrie matched his career best at the Majlis Course with a 66 to claim a share of sixth, four shy of Sterne's stunning 62.
"That's a fabulous score by Richard," Lawrie (38) acknowledged, "but the way the course was set up, you've got to say it was on.
"I got off to a great start and 66 around here is always a good score," he added. "But I'm a bit of a perfectionist and must concede I missed a couple of chances."
While a couple of modest birdie putts went begging at 17 and 18, Lawrie took solace from the 15-footer he holed for a plucky par save at 16.
"That kept me in the game," said the Dubliner, who has every chance of improving on his best finish in Dubai, a share of ninth in 2004.
Sterne's 62 was just one shy of the course record set by Ernie Els 19 years ago. He led Stephen Gallacher by one after an action-packed 64 by the Scot featuring two eagles, seven birdies and two bogeys.
Damien McGrane finished with four straight birdies for a 68, but Shane Lowry's prospects of making the 64-man field for the upcoming Accenture World Match Play were undermined severely by a 74 which left him tied 113th with new Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.
As he's not playing Johannesburg next week, his prospects look bleak of remaining in the top 64 by the February 11 Accenture cut-off.
Live, Sky Sports 2, 6.0 & 10.30