SSP Chowrasia continued to be the top Indian at tied third place after he compiled a bogey-free 69 to move into contention at eight-under 136 in the USD 2 million Iskandar Johor Open on Saturday.
Another Indian, Shiv Kapur (67-70), who waited for more than three hours to play out his last three holes, was tied seventh.
Meanwhile, Daniel Chopra raced to beat the hooter, calling for suspension of play due to threat of lightning, and finished his second round seconds before the stoppage to emerge as the leader by one over Chapchai Nirat (68-67).
Chopra’s bogey-free 66 gave him a total of 10-under 134.
The tournament is now officially reduced to 54 holes.
The suspension lasted three and a quarter hours but the weather cleared up long enough for the second round to finish.
All players will start their final round on Sunday.
Seven of the nine Indians, who started the week made the cut.
Anirban Lahiri (70-69) at five-under 139 is tied 18th, Gaganjeet Bhullar (71-70) at three-under 141 is tied 36th while Jyoti Randhawa (69-73), Digvijay Singh (68-74) is two-under 142 and tied 47th along with Himmat Rai (76-66), who made the best recovery in the second round.
Himmat was four-under through 16 holes of the second round to get to even par when play was stopped yesterday. He came back today morning and birdied both the 17th and 18th to complete a fine round of 66 -- the second best of the round -- to get to two-under and ensure a place in the final round.
Digvijay was on the line when today afternoon’s stoppage took place and he came back later to par his final hole and make the final round. Ajeetesh Sandhu (72-74) and Chiragh Kumar (77-73) missed the cut.
Chopra firing three birdies on either side of the course was 10-under and one clear of Chapchai Nirat, who birdied two of his remaining three holes when play resumed after three hours and 15 minutes.
Chopra had three birdies on either side and put alongside his first round of 68.
“I was very lucky to be able to putt out on the last.
I’ll get another afternoon off and watch it rain I guess. It was almost similar on the first day where we were the last group to finish. I was on the good side of the draw this time but I’ve been on the bad side before. It all evens out but it is definitely an advantage,” he said.
Chowrasia, who broke his title drought in India last fortnight, said, “I played well and was bogey free. I missed a few putts but I’m still happy with how I’m playing. I was struggling with my swing and putting previously but I think I’m back on track. I worked a bit on my swing and putting and now it is better.”
Speaking of his plan, he said, “The event is now 54 holes, so it is nice to be close to the leader, Daniel. My confidence is slowly growing. On the last hole I hit my tee shot a bit left. I had a good third shot but the wind carried it slightly further and I made a two putt par.”
Kapur was cruising along nicely, though he left a few putts. He was two-under through 11, before he bogeyed the 14th. He got back a shot on the par-5 15th and was on the 16th when play was suspended.
On return he stayed cool and parred the remaining three holes to be seven-under and tied seventh with the Thongchai Jaidee (66-71) and Sergio Garcia (68-69).
“It was frustrating, but I am glad it is done. Now we have a clear final round on Sunday, though the event is only 54 holes. I suppose you can’t do much about it,” he said.
Chowrasia shared the third place with Filipino Antonio Lascuna (68-68), Australian Unho Park (65-71) and first-round leader American David Lipsky, who after a 63 in first round had a 73 in the second.
Four-time Major winner and the biggest name in the field Ernie Els (68-72) was tied 36th.
Keywords: Iskandar Johor Open golf tournament