Rory McIlroy remains on top at Malaysian Open despite rain disruption
Rory McIlroy plays a shot during his third round at the Malaysian Open. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images
A solitary birdie kept Rory McIlroy out in front as rain curtailed the third round of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. The Northern Irishman, who continues to responded positively to his Masters collapse last weekend, had completed nine holes on Saturday when bad light ended play, after heavy rain forced an earlier delay of more than three hours.
The single shot he picked up came with a 10-foot putt at the par-four ninth and it enabled him to claim a two-shot lead on 12 under, having started the day level with Alexander Noren of Sweden.
“I felt I probably should have been a couple better,” McIlroy said. “I hit a couple of good shots that if they went a foot either way would have been great – the tee shot on 8 and second shot on 6 – if they had just stayed.
“But it’s OK. It’s a solid start. I could have been two or three shots better off but it’s obviously nice to hole that putt right at the end on the ninth and finish on a positive note. I’ve still got the lead but it is going to be a long day tomorrow.
“You’ve got to make every shot count out there. Twenty-seven holes in that heat tomorrow is going to be tough. I’ve got myself into a good position going into tomorrow and that’s all that counts.”
Noren’s card was far more colourful than McIlroy’s as he birdied the 1st, 3rd and 7th but bogeyed the second and the 6th and ran up a double bogey at the par-three 4th to stand one over par through eight holes. He was in a share for second place at 10 under alongside Grégory Bourdy of France, who was six under for the round through 14 holes, and the Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, who was three under through nine.
The world No1, Martin Kaymer, was a shot further back on nine-under, having picked up six strokes in 15 holes. England’s Simon Dyson, who was second overnight, slipped back to two shots to eight under, while Charl Schwartzel, the new Masters champion, was down the field on two under after 11.
Play will resume at 7.40am local time (12.40am BST) on Sunday as organisers try to remain on course to finish the tournament on time.