x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Nirat takes two-stroke lead at Singapore Open

Fading light forces close of play in the third round before half the field had finished after lightning had earlier disrupted play.

SINGAPORE // Fading light forced close of play in the third round before half the field had even finished after lightning disrupted play. The Thai golfer Chapchai Nirat ended the day with a two-stroke lead after carding three birdies and an eagle in the 12 holes he managed to complete to move to nine-under par. He leads the English player Simon Dyson, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and the Singaporean Lam Chih Bing by two strokes.

Nirat said he was "95 per cent" sure he would win the event on Sunday but some of golf's biggest names moved back into contention in today's play with solid performances. The American player Phil Mickelson, who lost his world number two ranking to the Spaniard Sergio Garcia last week, shot four-under-par through 14 holes, putting him four strokes off the leader. "I'm happy with the way I played," Mickelson said. "I'll need to make a few birdies tomorrow as there are a lot of good players in front of me."

The Irishman Padraig Harrington, winner of two majors in 2008, shot a five-under-par round of 66, which has also left him four shots back along with the South African Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and the Indian player Jeev Milkha Singh at five-under-par overall. Lam, seeking to become the first Singaporean to win the US$5 million (Dh18.4m) tournament, said that the boisterous local fans had helped to inspire him. "The support from the crowd is awesome. It's unbelievable how good the galleries are here this week," he said.