From Monarch of the Glen to forgotten man. It’s coming up for four years since Jamie Donaldson savoured his greatest moment in golf in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Here in 2018, the Welshman remains on course to thrust himself back into the spotlight after a spell in the wilderness.

After heavy fog led to a delay of almost three hours on day two of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Donaldson managed to cement his place at the top of the leaderboard with a three-under 69 for a 13-under aggregate before darkness brought a suspension to proceedings and left many needing to return this morning to complete their rounds

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Donaldson was one of the heroes of the 2014 Ryder Cup on Scottish soil and he sealed the emphatic European win over Tom Watson’s USA side with a pin-point wedge onto the 15th green which has now been immortalised with a plaque.

It’s not been plain-sailing since then, though, and a slide down the European order of merit, plus the effects of injury, almost led to him losing his tour card last season.

The 42-year-old, a three-time tour winner, left it late to conjure a timely salvage operation and finished fourth in the final regular event, the Valderrama Masters, to scrape into the top 100 in the Race to Dubai by a single shot.

“Yeah, buzzing,” he said as he recalled the feeling of that particular escape act. “To do it around Valderrama, a tough golf course, was really pleasing. It was up there with the best of the feats in my career.

“There have been a lot of times when I’ve had to do it, including the Ryder Cup, and you have to. It’s sort of Last Chance Saloon, isn’t it. You have to do it, otherwise that’s it.”

Donaldson, who had flirted with the possibility of carding the first 59 on the European Tour on Thursday as he opened with a 62, understandably struggled to reproduce that sort of scoring, but recorded four birdies and a solitary bogey in pursuit of a first win since December 2015.

“I have backed up low scores like that with another one but today it wasn’t to be,” added Donaldson, who was sitting a shot ahead of China’s Li Haotong.

“But yeah, quite happy with a 69. It was pretty solid again. I drove the ball well, the iron shots were good. I took the birdies generally when I hit it close enough.

“I could have played the par-fives maybe a little bit better. I went for it a bit on the last there, trying to get it right around the corner and blocked myself out. If you shoot three-under on the par-fives as opposed to one, then it’s a different day. But overall I’m happy.”

Rory McIlroy made a flying start to his second round with three birdies in the first five holes, before dropping his first shot of the week following a wayward drive on the eighth.

The four-time major winner, who marked his first competitive start since October with a tie for third in Abu Dhabi last week, bounced back with a birdie on the 10th and parred the next before play was suspended for the day.

“I’m in a good position,” said McIlroy who was sitting on 10-under with six holes to complete “Hopefully I can come out in the morning and make a few more birdies and get closer to the lead.

“It will probably be a good test for me to play 26 holes. We’ll see how the body responds to it.”

Glasgow’s Scott Jamieson got in the clubhouse with a 70 to finish on six-under with Richie Ramsay a shot further back after a 69.

Fife rookie Connor Syme showed his battling qualities and covered his last 10 holes in five-under to finish on a four-under tally and give himself a chance of surviving the cut.

“Hopefully it’s enough,” said Syme after picking up shots at the ninth, 10th, 11th, 13th and 17th to give himself an opportunity of continuing an impressive start to his professional career.

Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie, Stephen Gallacher and Marc Warren were all returning early to complete their second rounds.