Kuala Lampur - A resurgent Rory McIlroy moved two shots clear of the chasing pack at the weather-hit Malaysian Open on Saturday as the Northern Irishman braced ahead of a marathon last day.
The 21-year-old holed an eight-foot birdie putt on the ninth in near darkness at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to move to 12-under for the championship before play was suspended.
There had been a lengthy suspension earlier in the day because of the temperamental weather in the Malaysian capital.
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy charged into contention by negotiating 14 holes of his third round in six under to lie in joint second place on 10-under in the $2.5-million showpiece.
Italian whiz kid Matteo Manassero was three under through nine holes to stay in the hunt along with joint overnight leader Alexander Noren of Sweden, who endured a topsy-turvy day as he played eight holes in one over.
The third round will resume at 7:40am on Sunday before the commencement of the final round, which will see the likes of McIlroy having to play a total of 27 holes. There will be no re-draw for the final round.
"It's a solid start," said McIlroy, who is fighting to get his game back together after his spectacular collapse at the Masters.
"I could have been two or three shots better off but it's obviously nice to hole that putt right at the end on the ninth and finish on a positive note." "I've still got the lead but it is going to be a long day tomorrow," said McIlroy, who killed some time at the club's tenpin bowling alley while waiting for his third round tee time in the late afternoon.
The world number nine had parred his opening eight holes before finally rolling in his first birdie on the ninth -- whether anyone saw it in the twilight is another matter.
World number one Martin Kaymer proved he was not out of it when he toured his 15 holes in six under, moving ominously to nine under for the tournament.
After knocking tenpins down with the likes of McIlroy and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa during the weather delays, the 26-year-old Kaymer, the reigning PGA Championship winner, was equally accurate with his putting.
The German rolled in six birdies and will go into the last day just three shots behind the leader.
Bourdy, whose two top-20s this season did not single him out as an early contender, made his move in brilliant style.
He shot seven birdies through 10 holes but dropped a crucial bogey on the 13th hole which saw him slip behind McIlroy.
133 Rory McIlroy (Britain) 69 64
Alexander Noren (Sweden) 64 69 134 Simon Dyson (Britain) 70 64 137 Stephen Gallacher (Britain) 67 70
Brett Rumford (Australia) 69 68
Matteo Manassero (Italy) 66 71 138 Pablo Martin (Spain) 73 65
Danny Lee (New Zealand) 71 67
Darren Beck (Australia) 67 71
Daniel Gaunt (Australia) 69 69 139 Mohammad Siddikur (Bangladesh) 68 71
Rafael Cabrera (Spain) 69 70
Liang Wenchong (China) 70 69 140 Danny Willett (Britain) 71 69
James Morrison (Britain) 69 71
Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 70 70
Shiv Kapur (India) 71 69
Pablo Larrazabal (Spain) 70 70
Felipe Aguilar (Chile) 70 70
Paul Waring (Britain) 71 69
Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand) 72 68
Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 73 67
Tetsuji Hiratsuka (Japan) 71 69
Gregory Bourdy (France) 71 69 141 Martin Kaymer (Germany) 70 71
David Drysdale (Britain) 69 72
Alejandro Canizares (Spain) 69 72
Peter Lawrie (Ireland) 70 71
Graeme Storm (Britain) 71 70
Marcus Both (Australia) 71 70
Jason Knutzon (U.S.) 70 71
Robert Rock (Britain) 70 71
Joost Luiten (Netherlands) 72 69
Jamie Donaldson (Britain) 68 73
Kwanchai Tannin (Thailand) 69 72