November 14, 2008

Nirat Leads Delayed Third Round

When darkness halted play with half the field still on the course, Chapchai Nirat was leading by two. Phil Mickelson was 4-under, four strokes back

Nirat picked up five strokes on the field over a 12-hole stretch.

Nirat picked up five strokes on the field over a 12-hole stretch.

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Chapchai Nirat of Thailand took a two-stroke lead at the Singapore Open, which was called because of darkness before roughly half the players could finish the third round Saturday.

Nirat had three birdies and an eagle in 12 holes to move to 9-under, two strokes ahead of Simon Dyson of England, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Lam Chih Bing of Singapore.

American Phil Mickelson, who lost his No. 2 ranking to Sergio Garcia of Spain last week, shot 4-under through 14 holes, putting him four strokes off the leader.

"I'm happy with the way I played," Mickelson said. "I'll need to make a few birdies tomorrow as there are a lot of good players in front of me."

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, winner of two majors this year, shot a 5-under 66, also leaving him four shots back with Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and Jeev Milkha Singh.

Lam, seeking to become the first Singaporean to win the $5 million tournament, said boisterous local fans inspired him.