Els leads rain-affected Asian Open

Bad weather severely curtailed Sunday's fourth round at the BMW Asian Open.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Bad weather severely curtailed Sunday's fourth round at the BMW Asian Open but failed to throw tournament leader Ernie Els out of his stride. Storms forced the players off Shanghai's Tomson Golf Club course for three hours while poor light curtailed play later in the day. It means the final round will be completed on Monday - with Els leading by eight strokes from Englishman Simon Wakefield, with 12 holes to play. Gale-force winds forced the abandonment of the first day's play at the Johnny Walker Classic in Beijing last week. On Sunday, it was the turn of the BMW Asian Open in Shanghai to suffer at the hands of some rather unpleasant weather. Heavy storms forced the players off for three hours. In what play there was, Simon Wakefield continued to impress. Straight out of qualifying school, the 31 year-old Englishman is enjoying easily the best tournament of his career. If he manages to keep hold of second place, that should be just about enough to secure his European Tour card for next season. Two shots behind in third place is Denmark's Thomas Bjorn. But for all his heroics, Wakefield is unlikely to seriously trouble his playing partner. Rain or shine, Ernie Els has continued on regardless. Over the first six holes on Sunday, the South African managed to pick up three birdies and extend his lead over Wakefield - who was level par over the same six - to eight shots. All the time though, the light was fading. The leaders were on the seventh when the horn sounded to bring an early end to proceedings - and delay the conclusion of the tournament until Monday. But at 22-under-par, Els is comfortably on course for his 21st European Tour title. (AP)