Chopra takes slender lead in weather-hit Malaysia
Sat Dec 15, 1:28 PM UTC
(Reuters) - Sweden's Daniel Chopra took a one-stroke lead into the final day of the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia after the tournament was reduced to 54 holes on Saturday due to several weather disruptions.
Chopra carded a six-under-par 66 to take the second round lead for a total of 10-under, a shot ahead of three-time Asian Tour winner Chapchai Nirat of Thailand.
Chopra played his entire second round on Saturday and finished his bogey-free round in the nick of time before the sirens signaled an afternoon delay that stopped play for almost three hours at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.
"I'm very lucky to be able to putt out on the last. I'll get another afternoon off and watch it rain. It was almost similar on the first day where we were the last group to finish," said Chopra, a twice winner on the PGA Tour.
"I was on the good side of the draw this time but I've been on the bad side before. It all evens out but it is definitely an advantage."
Nirat, who recently became a father, also carded a blemish-free round of five-under 67 on Saturday and will be close on the heels of Chopra.
"I want a good result for my new born son, who we welcomed in our family last week," he told reporters.
"It doesn't matter if I win or not but I want to play well for him. It has been quite a while since I saw my name on top the leaderboard."
Filipino Antonio Lascuna, India's S.S.P. Chowrasia, Australia's Unho Park and David Lipsky of the United States are a shot behind tied for third at the Asian Tour's season-ending event.
Spain's Sergio Garcia, ranked number 20 in the world, and three-times Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee were in a pack of six players, three shots behind the leaders on seven-under.
Marcus Fraser (68) remained on course to be the first Australian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit by taking a two shot lead against current leader Thaworn Wiratchant going into the final 18 holes on Sunday.
Thailand's Wiratchant, who won the Order of Merit in 2005, is ahead of Fraser by $25,000 in the race but felt the scale has tipped in favour of the Australian.
"He has a good short game. He is putting really well. I think he has a strong chance of winning," the 15-times winner on the Asian Tour said.
"I was feeling tired last night but now I'm feeling better. We have to see what happens tomorrow."
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John Mehaffey)
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