Luke Donald gave himself a chance to end a disappointing year on a high after an encouraging second-round 66 at the DP World Tour Championship.
The Englishman was crowned European No 1 after finishing third in Dubai two years ago, becoming the first player in history to top the money list on both the European and PGA Tours in the same season.
But the former world No 1 has endured an alarming slump in form this season, and scraped into the 60-man season-finale in 59th place on the Race to Dubai.
Donald, now ranked 17th in the world, began the second round seven shots off the lead after an erratic 73 on Thursday, and he began the day with a second successive bogey at the opening hole.
But the 35-year-old bounced back with six birdies in a row, and an inward 35 capped a six-under 66 which lifted him to five under par for the tournament.
Donald is now working with Jason Dufner's coach Chuck Cook in an attempt to halt his slide down the world rankings, and he admitted he is looking forward to "starting over" in 2014.
"I'm looking forward to a fresh start," Donald said. "There's something about when that date changes to January 1 and you can start over. Thirteen has not been a lucky number for me.
"The last two years I had a chance to win the Race to Dubai. This year the only thing to play for is winning this tournament. A win would dramatically change my confidence and it takes one week to turn around a year.
"Yesterday I walked off despondent - I felt my game was very close and I showed that today. I wasn't far away yesterday, I was just making some mental errors and pressing a little too hard.
"I tried to be more patient and not think about the score so much. Usually it's pretty low scoring here, I certainly need to go low in the next two days."
"I have gone through a couple of changes in my swing and expecting everything to click into place quickly.
"I have been pressing too much on the course and today I went back to the old adage of one shot at a time.
"The swing is starting to bed in and my goal is to be ready by April next year in time for the Masters) and have a good season."