Graeme McDowell's hopes of winning the Race to Dubai title are fading despite firing a four-under-par 68 in the DP World Tour Championship on Friday.
The Portrush player has moved to four under but that is eight behind Henrik Stenson, who leads the tournament and European Tour standings.
McDowell, who lies third in the Race to Dubai, has to win in Dubai to overhaul Stenson and second-placed Justin Rose.
Rory McIlroy is six under after carding a 67 in the second round.
The two-time major champion topped the money list on both sides of the Atlantic last year, collecting five victories including his second major by eight shots in the US PGA Championship.
The 24-year-old's struggles on and off the course this season have been well documented however, leaving him a lowly 46th in the Race to Dubai entering the season finale in Dubai, an event he won thanks to five birdies in the last five holes 12 months ago.
McIlroy picked up an eagle at the 14th to go along with five birdies an a bogey on Friday.
"I think somewhere around 20 under par will win so I will need a couple of 65s," said McIlroy, who shot back-to-back rounds of 66 to win here 12 months ago.
"I finally feel I have got to the stage now when I can contend week in, week out and on the rare times I have got into contention this year I feel like I have played my best golf."
US Open winner Rose is also ahead of McDowell at the halfway point, with the Englishman on seven under.