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Ignacio Garrido leads weather hit Singapore Open

Spain’s Ignacio Garrido made the best of an early rise to grab a one-shot lead at the weather-delayed Singapore Open first round on Friday.

Torrential rain and lightning had caused a four-hour delay on Thursday, leaving the later starters at the $6 million co-sanctioned event with no chance of completing 18 holes.

England’s Chris Wood and South Korean Kim Bi-o were the overnight clubhouse leaders on eight-under-par.

Garrido, also eight-under through 12 before darkness halted play, returned to the Sentosa Golf Club with 107 other players to complete their opening round at 0730 on Friday.

The 38-year-old flirted with a 59 before settling for a nine-under 62 and a one-shot lead over Wood and Kim. All three played the easier Tanjong course and will play the second round on the tougher Serapong track.

Masters champion Phil Mickelson finished five shots behind the leader with U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell carding a 65 and PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer a 68.

Garrido was pleased with his round but acknowledged the Tanjong course was playing significantly easier than Serapong.

“We all know this is not the toughest of courses and it was playing in very good conditions,” Garrido said.

“There are a lot of birdie chances out there if you play cleverly and I took the chances when they presented themselves.”

Defending champion Ian Poulter ended the first round seven strokes behind Garrido, as did last week’s HSBC Champions winner Francesco Molinari.

Sponsors Barclays have ramped up prize money by $1 million for the tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours, making it the joint richest event on the European Tour outside the majors and the World Golf Championships.

With $1 million on offer for first place, the tournament could go a long way to determining the order of merit titles on both the Asian and European Tours.

Two separate par-71 courses are being used for the first time with the entire 204-man field playing a round on each and those making the halfway cut completing the final 36 holes on the Serapong course.

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