Singapore: Briton James Morrison enjoyed the best of the conditions at a rain-hit Singapore Open on Friday to fire a second round three-under 68 that moved him a shot clear of the field at the co-sanctioned event.
Morrison, tied for the lead with Italy`s Edoardo Molinari on nine-under par after the first round, had completed 14 holes of his second round before a weather delay forced the players off the course for almost three hours.
The 26-year-old returned to par the next three holes before a beautiful approach shot on the par-five 18th hole set up a tap-in birdie to send him into the clubhouse on 12-under for the USD 6 million tournament being played over two courses.
When play was suspended for the day due to darkness, Molinari sat alone in second place on 11-under after 10 holes and will return with 68 other players early on Saturday to complete their second rounds.
"It was a perfect number really, 100 yards to the flag and with a sand wedge from the fairway it looked like it was about to go in, but I will take a four," Morrison told reporters of his approach at the last on the more difficult Serapong Course.
"It`s definitely harder than the other course," he added. "More demanding tee shots and a well-designed course, so overall I had a good day.”
Filipino Juvic Pagunsan surged up the leaderboard with a second straight five-under 66 to sit two adrift of Morrison and level with Spain`s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who was five-under for his round after nine holes before play was halted.
Dane Anders Hansen recorded a bogey-free seven-under 64 to join Northern Ireland`s Michael Hoey and South Korea`s Y.E. Yang, who still has six holes to play, in a tie for fifth at nine-under par.
Morrison set the foundation for his low score on the easier Tanjong Course on Thursday but with the final 36 holes being played on Serapong, the Briton will be delighted to have offset two dropped shots with a bogey-free inward nine.
"I didn`t play as well as I did yesterday but did enough to get round and I finished strongly," Morrison added. "Four under for the back nine is very good here.
"I enjoy leading. It`s what you play for. You play to win, to be in contention and to even be interviewed. If you don`t enjoy that then there`s no point in playing. I love doing all that so looking forward to the weekend."
Pagunsan put his improved display down to some minor adjustments he had made off the course that has had a positive effect on his performance on it in recent weeks.
"I have a stronger mentality now and focus on my game more. My concentration has improved and so has my fitness," the Filipino said.
"Your mental game is stronger when you are fresher. I jog a bit and play some friendly games of basketball to keep in shape."
Hansen benefited from playing his second round on the Tanjong Course and moved into contention with a superbly controlled display of golf.
"It was really good today, really solid," the Dane said. "Probably one of the easiest 64s I have ever shot. There was nothing really special, no chip-ins, no long putts... I hit 18 greens and pretty much every fairway. That makes it easier."
Tournament drawcards Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson are both struggling to make an impact with the Northern Irishman tied for 44th on three-under par, a stroke ahead of the American, who needs to make up a shot over his final six holes to qualify for the weekend.