Rory McIlroy holed a ten foot birdie putt at his last hole of the day to establish a two shot clubhouse advantage after day three of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
A rain delay of three hours and 25 minutes, coupled with two and a half hours lost to lightning on Friday, meant the leaders could only complete nine holes of their third round before dark at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Northern Irishman McIlroy shared the halfway lead on 11 under with Sweden’s Alex Noren, and the 21 year old kept his nose in front with eight consecutive pars at the start of his round.
“I felt I probably should have been a couple better,” said the World Number Nine. “I hit a couple of good shots that if they went a foot either way would have been great – the tee shot on eight and second shot on six - if they had just stayed.
“But it’s ok. It’s a solid start. I could have been two or three shots better off but it’s obviously nice to hole that putt right at the end on the ninth and finish on a positive note. I’ve still got the lead but it is going to be a long day tomorrow.
“You’ve got to make every shot count out there. 27 holes in that heat tomorrow is going to be tough. I’ve got myself into a good position going into tomorrow and that’s all that counts.”
Former Omega European Masters champion Noren mixed three birdies with two bogeys and a five at the par three fourth to be ten under – and he will return to a lengthy birdie putt on the ninth on Sunday morning.
France’s Gregory Bourdy made the most significant move of the day with five birdies in his first six holes.
He added another at the eighth and then holed from six feet at the tenth to briefly share the lead, only to bogey the 13th.
However, the three-time European Tour winner was still six under for his round with five to play and tied for second with Noren and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.
“I played well on this course,” said Bourdy. “It was wonderful .Made just one mistake on the tee shot on nine.
“Everything was good – my putting and driver, which was longer and straighter.
“It was nice to be six under after 13 and thought I’d make a birdie on the 14th but just missed.”
Manassero, who turns 18 on Tuesday, first had the job of completing his second round when he returned to the course and birdies at the last two holes lifted him to a share of fourth place.
And an outward 33 saw the former British Amateur Champion move into contention for a second European Tour title.
Chile’s Felipe Aguilar amazingly started his round with five birdies in a row, and after a par at the sixth a dazzling approach left him a tap-in birdie at seven.
Looming large alongside him on nine under is World Number One Martin Kaymer, whose precision iron play saw him play the 15 holes possible in six under par – the highlight his tee shot to within a foot at the par three eighth.
There will be no redraw for Sunday’s final round, with the third round resuming at 0740 and the final round starting at 0845.