DUBAI // With 13 players at two-under par, 13 players at one-under par and 14 players at par, the Dubai Desert Classic wound up with a particularly unforgiving cut last evening.
If you did not make par after two rounds, your weekend was over.
Toss in seven players at four-under par and nine more at five under, and some players with reasonably good scores faded out. They included the guy who just got through winning the Qatar Masters last Sunday.
Thomas Bjorn, the veteran, 11-title Dane, who famously led the 2003 British Open at Royal St George's until the final four holes, found his one-over, 72-73 insufficient, as did Edoardo Molinari. The Italian, whose scores matched Bjorn's and whose wins last summer in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles propelled him to 14th in the world rankings and Ryder Cup note alongside his brother, Francesco, who ranks No 17 to Edoardo's current rank of 20.
Matteo Manassero, the 17-year-old Italian, who in 2010 became the youngest player to make the cut in a Masters and the youngest player to win on the European Tour, also exited at Emirates Golf Club when he followed his 72 on Thursday with a 78 in the difficult afternoon winds of yesterday.
While the cut also grabbed familiar faces in the 54-year-old Mark O'Meara (76-74) and the 47-year-old Colin Montgomerie (76-73), the 14-way tie for 58th place featured some players who did some serious work to stay on.
The Spaniard whose limited 2010 European Tour appearances included a two-under showing at the 2010 British Open, Alejandro Canizares, followed a 75 with a 69, as did Scotland's Ross Bain. Denmark's Mark Haastrup went one better, following on a 76 with a 68 that squeezed him in.