Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)
Denmark’s Thomas Björn returned to the top of the leaderboard on day three of the Barclays Singapore Open as the tournament made up for lost time at Sentosa.
The leader after an opening day 66, Björn did not hit a shot all day on Friday due to weather delays, and as he finally took to the course this morning he had been usurped at the top by South African George Coetzee and England’s Chris Wood.
Starting his second round a birdie at the second brought the 41 year old within one of the lead; and he did well to save par two holes later after driving into water.
Björn caught Coetzee and Wood with a six footer at the 11th, sent a brilliant iron approach to five feet at the 12th and converted for the outright lead, then doubled his advantage two holes later from 20 feet.
Four straight pars to finish gave the 13-time European Tour winner – who had three victories last season but is yet to register this term – a four under par 67 and nine under total.
The third round then begun in a U-draw, and Björn had time to par the first three holes before darkness forced play to come to a halt for the day at 18:43 local time.
“This course can very quickly bite you, especially if you don’t drive the ball well,” said Björn after completing his second round. “The numbers can run up on this golf course, so you’ve got to stay with what you’re doing.
“I’ve enjoyed these two days, and it’s nice to play some good stuff but there’s still a long way to go in this golf tournament.
“I’ve got two good rounds in the bank but there’s a way to go.”
Earlier perennial bridesmaids Coetzee and Wood had both improved their chances of a maiden victory on The European Tour.
Both players have had 17 top ten finishes without entering the winner’s circle, but Coetzee had a run of five straight birdies from the 18th, his ninth, en route to a best-of-the week 63.
Wood had his maiden professional victory in Thailand in August and the 24 year old birdied four of his last five holes for a second round 65.
Wood then birdied the second to move to eight under after three holes of his third round, while Coetzee recovered from a bogey there with a birdie at the third to hold sole possession of third.
Overnight joint-leader Chapchai Nirat birdied the second and fourth to join Italy’s Francesco Molinari on six under, while World Number One and Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy overcame a double bogey at the sixth to turn in a two under 34 and sit in a share of 13th on four under.
“I played well when we got back out there, got off to a good start then unfortunately made a mistake on the sixth but got one straight back on the seventh,” said the Northern Irishman.
“So two under through nine was a pretty decent effort, but I probably need a few more birdies tomorrow morning to get myself within a few shots of the lead going into the fourth round.”
Three-time winner Adam Scott and overnight joint-leader Simon Dyson are part of a seven-strong group on five under par.
The third round is due to resume at 07:30 on Sunday morning.