KUALA LUMPUR: A torrential afternoon downpour took away the shine on the second day of the US$1.1 million Carlsberg Malaysian Open at the Mines Resort and Golf Club but world No 5 Retief Goosen restored some lustre with a sizzling seven-under 64.
The South African fired a 29 on his front nine, reeling off seven birdies en route to taking the club house lead at 12-under 130.
Indian star Arjun Atwal, who had to pack up after the seventh hole, however, was still sitting pretty atop the leaderboard at 13-under par.
Despite his good show, Goosen, who had signed off his scorecard before the sky opened up and halted play at 2.30pm, was not sporting a big grin when he retired for lunch.
Instead, he was disappointed at not going any lower after swapping three bogeys against three more birdies on his inward journey.
“A score of 59 did cross my mind,” said Goosen, who had started from the 10th tee. “I got off to a great start and 29 was probably the worst that I could have scored.
“I made a bad five on the par-five 17th (his eighth hole of the round).
“If I can get two nines together, I can maybe shoot a lower score. It turned out to be quite a disappointing round,” said the 34 year-old South African.
When play was called off, 73 of the 150-strong field, including joint overnight leader Fredrik Andersson from Sweden had yet to complete the second round.
The thunderstorm, which lasted for 90 minutes, made several bunkers unplayable and officials decided to abandon play at 6pm.
Round two will resume at 8am today with the third round expected to tee off at 1.30pm.
Arjun was also disappointed at having to come off after seven holes.
“I was looking forward to the round as I got off to a good start. It's a bit disappointing but we're kind of used to this in Malaysia. I'll just have to start again,” said Atwal, who became the first Indian to win the Singapore Masters last year.
Arjun holed an 18-footer on the first hole and chipped in on the fourth from the fringe. Two more birdies came from superb approach shots at the sixth and seventh holes.
South Korean Ted Oh also kept up his challenge with a 67 to trail Goosen by a shot.
Oh, the Asian PGA Rookie of the Year winner in 2001, said he was delighted to have finished his round minutes before play was suspended.
“The rain was picking up at 17 and I teed it straight up at 18 and then rushed my second shot.
“I did not want to have a half a hole to play tomorrow morning.”
Thammanoon Srirot could have matched Goosen's 12-under but double bogeyed his last hole of the day for a 69. The Thai lost his ball in the jungle after hooking his drive but insisted he is still in the running for title.
Malaysia's Danny Chia had an even worse experience at his last hole. Playing from the back nine, Danny needed 10 shots to finish the par-four ninth, his final hole. He carded a 77 for a two-day total of 149.
Irishman Padraig Harrington, the tournament's other star attraction, produced his second 66 in what is his first event of the year.
He is lying at 10-under 132 after two rounds and was pleased with his score.
“I did not play anywhere as well as I did yesterday. But five-under on a day like this is very pleasing. I have to have a mental focus and up my game a little,” said Harrington, who has finished second twice in previous Malaysian Opens.