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Stenson Leads Qatar Masters

January 27, 2006

DOHA, Qatar (AP) _ Henrik Stenson shot a 4-under 68 Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Qatar Masters, and Ernie Els equaled a European Tour record by making the cut for the 69th straight time.

Els, who won the Qatar Masters last year in his tournament debut, equaled the mark set by Bernhard Langer. The South African, who shot his second straight 71 at the Doha Golf Club, made the cut by three strokes.

Vijay Singh also made the cut, shooting a 71 to qualify by a stroke. The world’s second-ranked player had five birdies and four bogeys.

Stenson, at 10-under 134 total, leads Ricardo Gonzalez (69) by one stroke. Nick Dougherty (67) and Richard Finch (68) were a further stroke back.

Stenson, who finished second in the Abu Dhabi Championship last Sunday, had five birdies Friday.

``It was a mixed bag out there, but I just fought hard,″ the Swede said. ``There was a lot of ups and down and I didn’t really get into my game. But a score of 68 is 68 no matter how it looks.″

Gonzalez was tied for the lead after the first round, but dropped back after a 69.

``I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday because I am quite tired to be honest,″ the Argentine said. ``My legs are quite sore and tired, I don’t know why. Maybe it is because of the pressure of being up the leaderboard.″

Els won the Qatar Masters title last year by five strokes, but needed two birdies on the last two holes to shoot 71.

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