Harrington confident of winning Johor "shootout"

Paris: Defending champion Padraig Harrington remains confident of retaining his title despite the rain-affected Iskandar Johor Open being reduced to 54-holes on Saturday.

Organisers decided to reduce the $2 million (1 million pounds) event to three rounds after yet another late afternoon thunderstorm lashed the Horizon Hills course.

Harrington had just played one hole to be trailing two strokes behind playing partner Daniel Chopra of Sweden, who led the field at 13-under par and also with 17 holes remaining.

"It`s a good decision now to reduce the event to 54 holes and that`s what we expected," Harrington told Reuters. "But it won`t make any real difference to me.”

"Whether I am two shots behind with 18 holes to play or two shots behind with 36 holes remaining because if I caught Daniel I would only be trying to keep ahead of him.”

"So I really don`t feel it is a negative for me at all," added the triple major winner, aiming to end a three-year title drought on the European Tour at the co-sanctioned event.

"If I was only five under par and not 11-under par as I am then it would be a different story, and besides I`ve still got 17 holes ahead of me."

Chopra sees the final round, scheduled to restart at 7.20am local time on Sunday as a shootout.

"I hit a couple of pretty good shots before the rain came and all the stoppages do is kill any momentum," he said.

"But then we can`t control the weather and all you can do is be mentally prepared for it and 54 holes now will change the way you think.”

"It is now going to be more of a shootout as there are a few players who are reasonably close and can have a good round and have the chance of winning.”

"It should be fun and hopefully the weather will hold out."

Bureau Report

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