Graeme McDowell gave his Race to Dubai chances a massive lift when he blasted five birdies in an amazing six hole stretch before play was suspended in the Barclays Singapore Open.
As Gareth Maybin fired a six under 65 on the Tanjong Course to trail clubhouse leaders Chris Wood and Kim Bi-o by two shots, McDowell birdied the third and fourth on the tougher Serapong layout and then reeled off a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth to share eighth place on five under when play was suspended for the day.
A daunting €531,806 adrift of Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer but chasing a top prize of €713,165, McDowell will have been disappointed that his momentum was checked as he headed back to his hotel tied with Darren Clarke, who posted a bogey-free, five under 66 on the Tanjong earlier in the day.
Play was suspended for four hours early in the day due to a thunderstorm which means that 105 players in the 204-man field must complete their first rounds on Friday.
They include three of the 10-man Irish contingent with Peter Lawrie four under after just eight holes and Paul McGinley five over with two to play.
Balfast’s Michael Hoey posted a two under 69 on the more difficult Serapong track to share 56th place with Padraig Harrington, who had a topsy-turvy round on the Tanjong.
The triple major winner, 39, went out in four under 32 as he followed a birdie at the first and a bogey at the second with birdies at the third and fifth and an eagle three at the long sixth.
He got to five under with eight to play thanks to a birdie at the 10th but the limped home in two over 37 as he racked up a double bogey seven at the 12th and dropped another shot at the 17th.
Damien McGrane failed to build on a hot start as he eagled the fourth on the Serapong and birdied the seventh to get to three under par.
A triple bogey six at the sixth saw him turn in level par and after a bogey at the 10th he had to birdie the 18th to post a level par 71 that leaves him tied for 115th.
Ranked 62nd starting the week, Lowry carded a two over 73 in the first group of the day on the Serapong as he came back from an early double bogey at the third with birdies at the fourth and fifth before back nine bogeys at the 13th and 18th left him struggling to make the cut.
McGinley was having a nightmare on the Tanjong as he lurched to five over through 16 holes with birdies at the fourth and 12th erased by five bogeys and a double bogey.
As for Gary Murphy, the Kilkenny man looks condemned to tee it up at the second stage of the European Tour Q-School later this month as he opened with an eight over 79 on the Serapong.
Ranked 236th in the Race to Dubai, he needs a top-10 finish just to avoid PQ-2 and a top five to keep his card.
Playing on a sponsor’s invitation, Murphy failed to make a birdie as he recorded five bogeys and a triple bogey in a bitterly disappointing effort.
Playing alongside McDowell, Italy’s Franceso Molinari was two under through eight holes in his bid to close the €1m gap on Kaymer at the top of the Race to Dubai.
The German was two under through six holes while Phil Mickelson shot a four under 67 on the Tanjong to share 25th place with Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.
Defending champion Ian Poulter was level par through six holes on the Serapong layout.