Chan Yih-shin of Chinese Taipei moved to the top of the weather-delayed second round leaderboard at the Avantha Masters with a Saturday morning birdie that saw him move one stroke clear of veteran Barry Lane and Challenge Tour graduate John Parry.
Chan was among the 36 players who had seen their second rounds brought to an abrupt halt by a lightning and hailstorm over the DLF Golf and Country on late Friday afternoon, but the 32 year old returned bright and early on Saturday morning to birdie his last hole and set the second round lead of 11 under par 133.
“I was playing well yesterday until the rain halted play,” said Chan after taking the outright lead. “I hit the ball well and managed to convert most of my putts for birdies. There’s really nothing you can do with the play suspension. I managed to regain my focus and get the job done.”
Australian’s Darren Beck, Andrew Dodt and Rick Kulacz share fourth place with Scotland’s David Drysdale, Singapore’s Lam Chih-bing and Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka, with all six men posting nine under par halfway totals.
Of those six, Hiratsuka certainly produced the best second round, setting a new course record of ten under par 62 to move from a tie for 74th place after round one into a share of sixth spot just two strokes off the lead.
Lane, who at 49 is set to join the Senior Tour in June, has only finished in the top 30 of a European Tour event twice in the last two years, relying on his status as one of the top 40 career money earners to retain his playing privileges.
But a second consecutive round of 67 secured a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the Englishman, who claimed the last of his five European Tour titles at the 2004 British Masters - that had been his first win in ten years.
“I have actually started off the year all right but my problem for the past two years has been my putting,” he said.
“I have managed to post a couple of 68s here and there and then I have had a nice couple of 67s to start the week here.
“If you can shoot those scores then you know that there is something there but I have really struggled with my putting and that has stopped me from scoring well all the time.”
Parry, like Chan, returned on Saturday morning to complete his second round, needing only four shots to match Lane’s second consecutive 67 for a ten under total.
Having begun the day tied for third with Lane and three shots behind overnight leader Marcel Siem, Parry went out in 31 as an eagle at the 18th laid the platform for the youngster to open up a useful gap coming home.
A birdie at the third took Parry to 11 under but he could not capitalise and a dropped shot at the fifth saw him slip back into the chasing pack.
Meanwhile, three birdies over his opening nine holes helped Lane remain in touch at the top.
The 49 year old picked up another shot at the first and, although that was subsequently cancelled out with a bogey at the fifth, two more birdies saw Lane set the pace in the clubhouse thanks mainly to a marked improvement on the greens.
Lane had trailed Dodt for most of the morning but a double bogey at the par three 16th when a wayward tee shot found the water saw the Australian sign for a 68 and end up in a group of four players on nine under.
He joined Drysdale after the Scot produced a strong finish with three consecutive birdies in his five under 67.
“Overall I am pretty happy with the first two days here,” said Drysdale.
“I have driven the ball well but haven’t putted great this week. I have holed a few nice birdie putts but then missed a few short ones.
“It is difficult to read the grainy greens here, though. I can’t read grain at all and I don’t think many of the European guys are very good at it to be honest so that is an extra challenge for us coming over here.”
Beck surged up the leaderboard to nine under following an impressive bogey-free 65, the Australian grabbing five of his seven birdies over the second half of his round having started on the tenth, while Singaporean Lam completed the quartet following a 68.
Four more players are tied at eight under while Northern Irishman Darren Clarke climbed back into contention after a 66 that featured nine birdies - seven of which came in his last 11 holes - moved him to seven under par.
“I started off a bit out of sorts - I couldn’t quite figure the swing out and then it clicked into place about the 14th and I hit some really nice shots after that,” he said.