Kuala Lumpur: Jeev Milkha Singh was a relieved man despite having to play 27 holes on Friday as he finished the day tied 26th before rains drew a premature curtain to the second day's play at the Maybank Malaysian Open golf tournament here.
Jeev knows he can get extra rest without needing to get to the course till the second half on Saturday, while many of others return in the morning to finish their second round. A total of 76 players will return on Saturday morning to complete the round. The penultimate round will not commence before 1.15pm.
Yet, there was a tinge of disappointment, as Jeev trying to finish before the siren was sound, ended with a bogey on the ninth, his closing hole. He has bogeyed the hole in two successive rounds now. But on Thursday it was his ninth when play was suspended.
Jeev finished with rounds of 70 and 71 to be three-under 141 and tied 26th as most of the other Indians were still battling to stay inside the cut line, which was expected to fall on even par or one-over.
South African Charl Schwartzel took a share of the clubhouse lead in the second round on another day disrupted by thunderstorms. The 2011 Masters Champion fired a four-under par 68, having returned to Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club early this morning to complete the remaining seven holes of his first round, which was abandoned for the day when a huge storm hit the area.
The best Indian was Shiv Kapur, who was understandably disappointed at having bogeyed two of his last three holes before play was suspended. After a 72 in the first round, which he competed today, Kapur managed two-under through five holes, before bogeying sixth and eighth.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (72-73), Jyoti Randhawa (71-74), Daniel Chopra (74-71) are all one-over for 36 holes, just below the cut line while Digvijay Singh, after 72 in the first round, is two-over through six in second, while Anirban Lahiri (74 in first round) is even after five in second. SSP Chowrasia (77-72) and Himmat Rai (76-81) will miss the cut. C Muniyappa retired after the first 82.
"I'm really happy I finished the day. It has been a long day. I don't remember the last time I played 27 holes. I was tired out there and would have loved to finish better but bogeyed the last. I was trying to hurry up and finish the hole before the siren went off," Jeev said.
"I made nine birdies in two days but I need to tidy up a bit. I'm three-under-par for the tournament so I need to cut down on the bogeys. I just chilled out and had some lunch (during the rain suspensions) just to keep my focus on, then go out and try again," he added.
Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat birdied the ninth hole to hold a one-shot edge over second round clubhouse leaders Wu Ashun of China and Schwartzel. First round leader Kiradech was 10-under but needed to play another nine holes of his second round when play was suspended.
Before the afternoon storm rolled in, self-taught Wu produced a solid four-under-par 68 to tie Schwartzel, who also carded a 68, on nine-under-par 135 after both players laboured to 26 and 27 holes respectively.
Italy's Edoardo Molinari was a further shot back on eight-under after playing five holes of his second round in two-under.
Schwartzel followed up an opening 67 with six birdies in the first 14 holes of round two, but had two late bogeys to slip back into a tie at nine under with China's Ashun Wu (68), while Thailand's Kiradech reached ten-under par after nine holes.
None of the afternoon groups finished their second round before daylight faded.