A tropical downpour halted US Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen in his tracks yesterday as he charged toward the Maybank Malaysian Open second-round lead.
Oosthuizen, continuing his rehabilitation from Sunday’s cruel playoff loss to Bubba Watson, was one shot off the clubhouse lead through 12 holes when the threat of lightning suspended play just after 4pm.
After players and spectators scurried from the course, torrential rain drenched the par-72 Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, forcing organizers to call it off for the day.
The second round was scheduled to resume at 7:45am today, with 75 of the 155-man field yet to reach 36 holes.
Oosthuizen has dealt with extreme disappointment, jet lag and sweltering heat this week, and the winner of the Open in 2010 can now add torrential rain to the list of obstacles.
However, he looked in determined mood as he braved oven-like early afternoon temperatures to lurk behind joint provisional leaders and fellow South Africans Hennie Otto and Jbe Kruger, who are on nine-under-par 135.
On a quiet-scoring afternoon, Oosthuizen managed only one birdie on his front nine, but he birdied the par-five 10th after chipping off a downward slope at the back of the green to three feet.
His playing partner Charl Schwartzel, the overnight leader and last year’s Masters champion who watched Oosthuizen’s near-miss in anguish on Sunday, gave up three shots to slip into a share of 12th.
Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer took advantage of cooler morning conditions as he stormed up the leaderboard with a five-under-par 67 and a two-round total of 137, two shots off the pace.
“I played similar to yesterday — I played really good golf, a lot of good tee-shots. I couldn’t drop every putt, but I made six birdies today and made only one bogey so I was very solid,” Kaymer said.
Kruger, the top prize money-winner in Asia so far this season, was left smiling after a seven-under-par round of 65, including eight birdies against one bogey, made up for his 70 on day one.
“I won’t really call it giving Charl and Louis a run for their money,” he said of his South African compatriots. “I just finished awesomely and it’s a start. It’s fun to be in contention.”
Otto, another early starter, made hay with an eight-under 64 as South Africans occupied the top three positions on the leaderboard.
The US$2.5 million tournament is the second consecutive big Malaysian event to be affected by rain in recent weeks, after storms interrupted the Malaysian Grand Prix last month.
Of the Taiwanese players in the tournament, only Lin Wen-tang finished the round, shooting 77. Lu Wen-teh had finished the fifth hole and Lu Wei-chih the sixth when play was suspended.