Play finally got back underway at Al Mouj Golf for the 2019 Oman Open with Maximilian Kieffer leading the way on five under par before play was called off for the day due to darkness in the third round.
The second round had been suspended due to high winds and a sudden sandstorm on Friday with Kieffer just one of 11 players who completed their rounds. The remainder of the field returned on Saturday morning to complete their rounds with Joachim B.Hansen joining the German as second round leader after carding a three under par 69.
“I’m feeling pretty good, I was a bit disappointed with the finish, but it was so tough yesterday when the wind came,” said Denmark’s Hansen after the second round. “It changed so much and it was hard to hit good shots and keep the ball low. Three under is a good score with this wind.
“The first 13 holes we played was a one to one and a half club wind, consistently. You could get around. We had a good stretch from the 16th to the fourth hole, but I had a bad shot on five and then the wind came. The run of birdies was great. I was hitting it inside 15 feet a lot and gave myself a lot of chances.”
Kieffer, Hansen and first round leader Kurt Kitayama began their third round at 17:10pm local time with Kitayama giving the course back six shots on his first three holes which included a quadruple bogey on the first, therefore dropping the American to tied 34th on two over par. Hansen guided his way through the first three at one over par while Kieffer carded three consecutive pars before play was called off for the day in Muscat.
Rolex Series winner Brandon Stone and India’s Ganganjeet Bhullar join Hansen in a share of second place with both players finishing the day on the fourth hole on level par. The pair had finished their second rounds earlier on Saturday with Bhullar posting an impressive three under par 69 while Stone moved up the leaderboard with a solid two under par 70 in difficult conditions along the coast.
“I’m very pleased; I started off really well yesterday,” said Bhullar before the third round begun. “Considering the wind and the weather today I made two good birdies on two and three, but then I was unfortunate to drop two shots. Conditions were really tough today. The goal is to stay focused and relaxed and give 100 per cent at the weekend.”
Six players sit two off the pace in fifth place including French duo Victor Dubuisson and Benjamin Hebert while last year’s champion Joost Luiten shares 26th place after a second round five over par 77 dropped him down the leaderboard.
The third round will resume at 7:15am local time on Sunday morning.