Arjun goes four-up, but all players will have to finish third round today


KUALA LUMPUR: The US$1.1 million Carlsberg Malaysian Open was suspended for a second day running when a lightning storm hit the Mines Resort and Golf Club, forcing the players to pack up early, midway into the third round. 

India's Arjun Atwal was in the lead with a four-shot advantage when the siren sounded, forcing every body into the clubhouse. No player completed the third round. 

After completing his rain-interrupted second round in the morning with a six-under 65 for a three-shot edge over world number five Retief Goosen, Arjun extended his advantage by a stroke in the afternoon. 

ROUGH GREEN: A huge crowd watches as Indian leader Arjun Atwal and other players on his flight play on the second hole which was damaged after suspected saboteurs poured petrol on the greens before the start of the tournament. Workers cleaned up the greens to make it playable and a police report has been lodged.--STARpic by S.S. KANESAN.

When play was suspended at 5.45pm, the Indian star was two-under after eight holes of his third round, well ahead of former US Open winner Goosen and Thailand's Thammanoon Srirot. 

Goosen, the reigning European Tour number one, was one-under for his round while Tahmmanoon joined the South African star on 13-under for the tournament. He was three-under after eight holes. 

But Thammanoon is set to drop at least a shot on the ninth after hooking his tee shot into the jungle before eventually hitting the green with his fourth when play was stopped. He will have a 14-foot putt for bogey today. 

The third round will resume at 8am today. The fourth round, which will use the same pairings as yesterday, is scheduled to start at 9.45am, while the last pairing is scheduled to start at 11.50am. 

A total of 85 players made the halfway cut at one-under-par 141 yesterday. But several big names missed out, including China's Zhang Lian-wei, who had beaten world number two Ernie Els to become Singapore Masters champion last month. He was on 142. 

Others to miss out were South Korean teenager Kevin Na (143) and Asian PGA Order of Merit winner Jyoti Randhawa from India (143). 

Defending champion Alastair Forsyth of Scotland just squeezed through with a two-day total of 141. 

But there will be no shortage of excitement today. Arjun is looking to continue from where he left off. 

“I'm not actually bothered by this delay. I played 11 holes this morning and finished eight in the afternoon, so I am not too upset. 

“I am still hitting it good, very solid. It's nice to be in front by four and I am just going to try to keep doing the same thing and keep playing against myself,” said Arjun.  

“I've got a good lead and that's what you practice for. I keep telling myself I have been in this situation before and I have won four times on the Asian Tour. 

“If someone is going to beat me, he's got to shoot lower than me. I don't want to beat myself,” said Arjun, whose two-day total of 15-under 127 is the year's lowest 36-hole score on the Asian PGA and European Tour.  

Goosen had two birdies and a lone bogey in his eight holes. He was somewhat relieved that play was stopped. 

“I was not striking the ball well. Hopefully, it will get better tomorrow. I had a bad bogey on the fifth as I had just a soft nine iron in. Arjun has a great swing and is obviously very mature. He is playing really well.” 

Goosen expects to struggle if it becomes a three-round tournament. 

“My only hope is a four-round tournament unless I can shoot another 29 on the back nine,” said the former World Cup champion. 

Four other players – Dean Robertson from Scotland, Daniel Chopra from Sweden, Ted Oh from South Korea and Irish star Padraig Harrington were all bunched at 11-under for the event. 

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