Lee and Herbert shine in Dubai Classic

Min Woo Lee and Lucas Herbert have shone in the lucrative Dubai Desert Classic to ensure an Australian presence near the top of the leaderboard at halfway.

MIN WOO LEE. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

Min Woo Lee has roared back from his disappointing start to revive his chances at the Dubai Desert Classic while his compatriot Lucas Herbert continues to spearhead the Australian challenge.

Lee, who suffered a disappointing opening round of 73 spread across the first two rain-interrupted days, went eight shots better in Saturday's second round with his seven-under 65 being one of the best outings of the day on the Emirates Golf Club's Majlis course.

The rising West Australian star, who's started his season in impressive fashion, has hauled himself back to within four shots of the three leaders at halfway - Belgium's Thomas Pieters, English veteran Richard Bland and American amateur Michael Thorbjornsen, who are all on 10 under.

But Herbert is even better placed than his Australian colleague, sitting just a couple of shots off the lead at eight under after shooting a 67 which featured seven birdies, highlighted by a spectacular 30-yard chip-in birdie at the sixth on his inward stretch.

As usual with Lee, there were also a couple of spectacular shots, as he almost holed a wedge approach from 118 yards at the eighth and then arrowed his tee-shot at the short 15th to within a foot of a hole-in-one.

He birdied 15, 16 and 17, looking disappointed when he missed out on making it four in a row at the par-five last, failing to get down in two from just off the green.

With the tournament set for a Monday finish after the rain and flooding problems earlier in the week, the favourite remains world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who's alongside Herbert at eight under after a 70.

The Northern Irishman's big rival, American Patrick Reed was also on the same mark but won't be partnering McIlroy in Sunday's third round.

Thorbjornsen was the star of the day, the world's No.2-ranked amateur carding a brilliant 64, which featured an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey to put himself alongside 49-year-old Bland.

Bland recorded a second straight 67 while Pieters clocked up seven birdies on the back nine in his 67.

Scotland's Connor Syme, Swede Marcus Kinhult and Spaniard Adri Arnaus are one shot off the lead on nine under.