Mar 22 2013
Pre-tournament favourite Charl Schwartzel already has one eye on a Monday finish after claiming a share of the clubhouse lead in the weather-delayed Maybank Malaysian Open.
Schwartzel, who won back-to-back tournaments in December last year by a combined total of 23 shots, carded a second round of 68 to finish alongside China's Ashun Wu on nine under par in Kuala Lumpur.
But after the former Masters champion signed his card, a two-and-a-half-hour delay due to the threat of lightning meant that half the field were unable to complete their second rounds on schedule.
And with thunderstorms an almost daily occurrence at this time of year, plans for an early finish on Sunday to allow the country's prime minister to attend the prize-giving ceremony before going on to the Malaysian Grand Prix at nearby Sepang already look in jeopardy.
The second round will resume at 7:45am local time on Saturday, with the third round beginning not before 1:15pm.
Schwartzel, looking to become the seventh South African winner on the European Tour in 2013, was four under par after 11 holes of his first round when a thunderstorm forced play to be abandoned for the day on Thursday.
He was among 76 players who resumed play on Friday morning at 7:45am local time and completed an opening 67 in style, chipping in for a birdie on the 18th.
That left him two shots off the clubhouse lead held by Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, but it did not take him long to wipe out that deficit when the second round got under way.
"It was a long day out there but overall I feel I played pretty well and am at least giving myself a chance. I am playing consistently," said Schwartzel. "If I was a bit sharper I could have really separated myself but the game is good and shows me if I keep doing that, hopefully by Sunday, or whenever we finish, I will be on top."
Aphibarnrat moved into the outright lead on 10 under with a front nine of 33 before play was halted due to darkness, while world number three Luke Donald, who needed a major improvement on his opening 74 to make the cut, was two under through seven to get back to level par for the tournament.