Harrington trails Chopra as weather-hit Johor Open is reduced to 54 holes

By Sportsmail Reporter

Daniel Chopra is in pole position to claim the Iskandar Johor Open but Padraig Harrington and James Morrison remain firmly in contention after heavy rain in Malaysia saw the tournament reduced to 54 holes.

Chopra leads the way on 13-under par but Harrington and Morrison trail the Swede by two strokes with the trio having played just one hole of their third rounds before play was abandoned for the day due to unplayable conditions at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

Padraig Harrington

On the march: Harrington is two shots adrift of Chopra

'The course became unplayable after the heavy rainfall we received this afternoon with standing water on a number of the fairways,' said Tournament Director Jose-Maria Zamora.

'With that in mind, we had no choice but to suspend play for the day and, due to the disruptions we have already suffered, we have also taken the decision to reduce the tournament to 54 holes.

'We are confident the course will be ready for the resumption of the third and final round at 7.20am on Sunday morning.'

In the swing if things: The Irishman is in contention ahead of Sunday's final round

In the swing if things: The Irishman is in contention ahead of Sunday's final round

Chopra is looking forward to what could prove to be a dramatic final day.

'That changes the way you think. It will make it more exciting. It is going to be a bit more like a shootout because there are a number of people still in it with a chance to have a good round. It will be fun. Hopefully the weather will hold out,' he told the European Tour website.

Leading the way: Daniel Chopra

Leading the way: Daniel Chopra

'I hit a couple of good shots starting off the round, and then the rain came. It kills a bit of momentum. It did on the first day, but it didn't really show in my score. Today, I felt like I had it again for that one and a half holes, that we played but we can't control the weather.'

Gregory Bourdy was also at 11-under after parring the first while five players were tied for fifth on nine under par.

Rhys Davies was part of the group at eight under par through three holes after the Welshman birdied the second.

Yesterday's play had been suspended for two hours, meaning a host of players were forced to return this morning to finish their second rounds.

Chopra held the clubhouse lead at 13-under par but Harrington, who had half of his second round to play, picked up four birdies on the back nine to join both Morrison and Frenchman Bourdy on 11-under. The Irishman knew how crucial those shots could prove to be.

'It was important to get as close to Daniel as I could because we don't know if there are 18 or 36 holes left to play,' he said afterwards.

'I was very aware of that coming down the last nine holes and even on the last hole. The pin is very tight to the water but I decided to attack the flag with my pitch anyway, which maybe I wouldn't have done if I knew for definite there was still 36 holes left to play.

'It does change your mindset a little bit, because there's no point playing it safe at this stage. I need to make up ground, because I'm running out of holes.

'I like risk/reward courses. There's plenty of trouble out there, but there are also plenty of birdie and eagle chances. So you've got to roll with it, and I feel very comfortable out there. There are some very tricky holes out there, and also some very good holes.'

Morrison, meanwhile, carded a 65 that was helped by three birdies in the last three holes as the 26-year-old Englishman collected six in total to follow up an opening 66 with another fine effort.

'It was a very nice finish, and I'm glad to be in the cool for a while because it's getting very hot out there now. I hit a decent drive down the last then hit a good hybrid rescue club onto the fringe, and managed to get down in two from there. So I'm very happy,' he said.

'I said to my caddie this morning, it'd be nice to get in the last group because if we're only going to play three rounds, then it's important to be in touching distance of the lead. That finish today, with three birdies on the bounce, could be crucial.'

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