KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - U.S. Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen had his second round charge at the Malaysian Open lead halted on Friday when thunderstorms and heavy rain ended play early at the European and Asian Tour event.
Oosthuizen was two-under-par after 12 holes of his round at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club for a eight-under total.
The South African trails compatriots Hennie Otto and Jbe Kruger by one shot after they fired an eight-under-par 64 and seven-under 65 respectively before the weather turned.
Oosthuizen is looking for a fifth win on the European Tour, a triumph that would go a long way to help him overcome the heartbreak of missing out in a playoff at Augusta to American Bubba Watson on Sunday.
After a 30-hour journey to take part in the $2.5 million tournament in the Malaysian capital, he followed up his opening round 66 with 10 pars and two birdies on the narrow layout.
The 2010 British Open champion will be one of 75 players who will return early on Saturday to complete their second round.
Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kruger credited his putting after following up his opening round 70 with a 65 for a share of the lead in the South African-heavy leaderboard.
“I think all of us (South Africans) are coming into this tournament with a little bit of form coming back,” Kruger said.
“My game is a little bit better. I’ve been working on a lot of things and it seems to be coming together which is always a good sign.”
The diminutive Kruger shares the lead with Otto, who went bogey-free to record the best round of the day despite a lack of knowledge about the course.
“I played the course blind yesterday because I was first reserve for the pro-am and was expecting to get into that and use it as my practice round but it didn’t happen,” Otto said.
“I walked the course on Wednesday so had an idea but it is obviously a lot different when you come to play it. I had never been here before so it was a decent start and then today I felt a lot more comfortable on the greens and made the putts which is the difference.”
Just behind the South African trio is former world number one Martin Kaymer, who fired a 65 to move into a tie for fourth with American David Lipsky (67), two shots off the lead.
One South African who did struggle on Friday was 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
The overnight leader followed up his 64 with four bogeys on Friday to stand at five-under for the tournament after 12 holes of his second round.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O'Brien