Storm stops play in Singapore

Rory McIlroy managed only eight holes today before play at the Barclays Singapore Open was called off in mid-afternoon because of a thunderstorm.

The world number one had just bogeyed the short eighth to return to level par, five behind leader Thomas Bjorn, when the day’s action came to a premature end.

It means the Northern Irishman faces the prospect of 28 holes tomorrow, although it is nothing new for the event – last year it was cut to three rounds and the play-off continued into Monday.

Former Ryder Cup star Bjorn, the 41-year-old Dane, carded a 66 to lead by a stroke from England’s Simon Khan, Spaniard Pablo Martin and Thai golfer Chinnarat Phadungsil, with back-to-form Paul Casey among those only two back.

McIlroy, a controversial absentee from last week’s world championship in China, started with a bogey, but then had birdies on the fourth and fifth while being watched by girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

Brief though his day’s work was, it took the 23-year-old Northern Irishman closer to securing the European Tour money list title as playing partner Louis Oosthuizen, needing a win to keep alive his hopes, ran up a double-bogey seven on the 587-yard seventh and stood two over par.

That put the South African alongside American Phil Mickelson, in with a morning 73, while three-time winner Adam Scott had to be content with a level-par 71 and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington could do no better than 74 in the hot and humid conditions.

That included a drive into the lake en route to a seven at the long fourth, a closing bogey – and not a single birdie all day.

Bjorn, three times a winner last year, birdied three of his last six holes and said: “I thought the course would be extremely difficult and my iron play was not 100 per cent, but I hit enough good ones and never got into big trouble.

“Any time you can find some shadow you do it. You don’t do too much practice and you pace yourself – it’s a long, long week and you’ve got to stay energised.”

Casey was continuing his end-of-season revival. A dislocated shoulder suffered snowboarding last Christmas forced the former world number three to miss the first two months of the season and on his return he crashed out of the world’s top 100 by making only one halfway cut in nearly six months.

But his last three finishes have been third, fifth and sixth and the 35-year-old had five more birdies this morning, including one on the 452-yard ninth to complete his round.

Casey said: “I’m very happy with that – it’s the first time I’ve played in this kind of humidity for a while. Just hanging on to the club with sweaty hands is the biggest problem.

“The golf has been very nice lately and I would love to sneak in a win before the end of the year. This is a difficult set-up – I don’t think there’s a wedge or sand-wedge into any of the par fours and there’s a lot of thick rough. It’s pretty much a ball-striker’s paradise.”

Khan would have shared top spot but for a closing bogey six.

“I think the heat by that point had got to me,” said the 2010 BMW PGA champion, “but it’s a little bit of mind over matter – you’ve just got to get on with it and I’ve learnt over the years what to do.”

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