Els ahead before lightning threat suspends play

South Africa’s Ernie Els moved into a one-shot lead early in the Singapore Open third round before play was suspended due to the threat of lightning on Saturday.

Els was even par for his round and six under for the tournament, just ahead of two Australians, defending champion Adam Scott and overnight co-leader Scott Strange.

China’s Liang Wen-chong was fourth on four-under par with Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Australian Brad Kennedy a further stroke adrift in a tie for fifth.

Els, who started the round tied with Strange, had taken his tee shot on the par-five seventh when sirens signalled the threat of lightning, forcing the players to mark their positions and leave the course immediately.

The burly South African opened his round with three straight pars before finding the green in two and two-putting the par-five fourth.

His two-shot advantage only lasted one hole, however, as a sloppy bunker shot on the sixth left him scrambling to get down in two from the edge of the green.

As the leaders struggled on the front nine, Scott moved up the standings with his solid start, mixing two birdies with four pars on the testing par-71 Serapong Course hosting the $3-million Asian Tour event.

Scott made the most of his accurate approach play and was unlucky not to eagle the fourth when his putt from the front of the green shaved the hole, leaving a simple tap-in for birdie.

The 26-year-old picked up another shot on the sixth, his last hole before the lightning warning.

Liang was the other mover among the front-runners, the Chinese prospect going out in three-under 33 to lead the Asian challenge in the Tour’s richest event.

Partnering Els, Strange still appeared to be suffering from a sore back that needed on-course treatment on Friday, but the gritty Australian stayed in contention with five straight pars after dropping a shot on the first.

Cabrera, who had only dropped two shots on the opening 36 holes, made a stuttering start to his third round and will be hoping to regroup during the delay following a double bogey on the fifth.

A group of four players, Prom Meesawat of Thailand, Shingo Katayama of Japan and Indian par Arjun Singh and Shiv Kapur, were also well placed at two under for the tournament in a tie for seventh place.

Organisers were due to make an announcement about the resumption of play at 2.45pm. – Reuters

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