Australia’s Richard Green joined clubhouse leader Paul Casey on 13 under par when play was suspended early in the third round of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof near Cologne.
Like Casey, Green was on nine under for the day. He had two holes to play and will have been frustrated by the delay given he had picked up seven shots in his previous seven holes, including an eagle at the par five 15th.
Casey brilliantly fired nine birdies, including four consecutively from the ninth hole, to move a shot ahead of overnight frontrunners Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Emiliano Grillo, Pablo Larrazábal and Danny Willett, who were all yet to tee off when Casey completed his round.
Casey, 110th in The Race To Dubai, started the day on five under par, having only made the cut right on the mark after hitting it stiff on the final hole on Friday for birdie and therefore qualifying for the weekend.
He said: “Standing on 18 I didn't think I would be here for the weekend. But I hit a beautiful drive. I had 132 to the flag and hit a gap wedge to two feet, and then a foot and a half.
“Then the horn went. It was nice to go back after the rain delay knowing you have a very easy putt to make the cut.”
With just eight shots separating the whole field at the start of Saturday, Casey went out in 31 and came home in 32 for the joint lowest round of the week.
“I’m glad I got off early. The golf course is absolutely perfect. The rain we had yesterday has soft end it up,” he explained.
“You could find straighter flags, you could be aggressive but the greens have remained in wonderful shape so it really is set up for scoring out there so that's what I did.”
Casey, reflecting on hitting the front, added: “I was giggling because I was thinking, they are just waking up now and they have lost the lead but I'm not going to hold it for long.
“There's a whole slew of guys who are right behind me, and you know, if we don't get any kind of weather today, I fully expect somebody to go out there today and tear it to pits who is at the top of the leaderboard or near the top of the leaderboard.
“I expect somebody to get to 17 or 18 by the end of the day. I just still hope I'm still 'within‑ish' of those guys by the time I tee off tomorrow.”
One of those closing in on Casey was France’s Gary Stal, who birdied his first three holes to draw level with the overnight leaders when play was interrupted by the threat of lightning.