Chris Wood shrugs off rain delay to share Singapore Open lead

Singapore : England`s Chris Wood scorched round a yielding Tanjong course with an eight-under-par 63 to grab a share of the first-round lead at the rain-delayed Singapore Open on Thursday.

Wood, who finished fifth as an amateur at the 2008 British Open and tied for third a year later, shares top spot with playing partner Kim Bi-o of South Korea on a leaderboard dominated by those playing the easier Tanjong track.

South Korean Kang Kyung-nam, three shots off the pace in joint fifth, is the best placed of those playing the first round on the more demanding Serapong course.

Torrential rain and lightning caused a four-hour delay in the morning, leaving many of the late starters in the $6 million co-sanctioned event with little chance of completing 18 holes.

Two separate par-71 courses are being used for the first time with the entire 204-man field playing a round each on both layouts with those that make the halfway cut completing the final 36 holes on the Serapong course

Defending champion Ian Poulter, and Race to Dubai protagonists Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer were among those forced to wait until the late afternoon before teeing off.

Wood, who missed last year`s Singapore Open after sustaining an injury in a fall in Spain, carded a bogey-free round of 63 with six birdies and an eagle. The lanky 22-year-old said the early rain suspension did not disrupt his game too much.

"To be honest, I had only just started when we got called in," Wood said. "I was on the third green so I wasn`t really into a rhythm or anything like that. Although I did birdie the first three holes, which I was very pleased with."

Play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club at around 0840 local (0030 GMT) before the horn sounded four hours later to signal the restart.

Joint-leader Kim, who won the Korean and Japanese amateur championships in 2008, carded eight birdies but the 20-year-old felt he left some shots on the course.

"Eight birdies is a lot but I still missed about four birdies from inside 10 feet or I could have been 12-under for today," he said.

"I`m still fine and happy with eight-under but I`m going to head out to the putting green to get my feeling better for tomorrow and the next three days."

Sponsors Barclays announced in September they would ramp up prize money by $1 million for the tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours, making it the joint richest event on the European Tour outside of the majors and the World Golf Championships.

With $1 million on offer for first place, the tournament could go a long way to determining the Order of Merit titles on both the Asian and European Tours.

Bureau Report