02 March, 2019: Maximilian Kieffer played just three holes on day three of the Oman Open but that was enough to hand him the solo lead at Al Mouj Golf. Gaganjeet Bhullar trailing Kieffer by one shot also played only four holes before the play got suspended due to bad weather.
The German was one of just 11 players to complete their second round on Friday due to high winds and sandstorms and he entered the weekend a shot off the lead at five under.
He was in a share when round two was completed as more strong winds made scoring very difficult and, when darkness brought an end to play in Muscat, he led on his own.
Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, Swede Peter Hanson, Chilean Hugo Leon, Japan’s Hideto Tanihara and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti were then at three under.
None of the field were able to complete round three on Saturday and all of the players will restart at 7.15am, with the final group facing 33 holes on a marathon day.
Kieffer has been a picture of consistency on the European Tour since graduating from the European Challenge Tour in 2012 but will be searching for his first title on Sunday.
Bhullar bogeyed the first in round three to drop two off the lead and he was soon joined there by Hansen who double bogeyed the second to hand Kieffer the solo lead.
Leon birded the third and the group at three under was swelling as Stone and Zanotti both dropped a shot on the same hole.
Bhullar was the third member of the penultimate group and the Indian bucked the trend by making a birdie to move back to four under and into second on his own.
Tanihara then picked up a shot on the fourth and there was a six-way tie for third.
Hanson had started the round at level par but he made birdies on the fourth and fifth and when he added a third on the seventh, he was just two off the lead.
Hebert had started his round with a bogey but gains on the third and fifth moved him into red numbers for the round.
Dane Hansen then bounced back from his mistake with a birdie on the third, while Stone recovered from his dropped shot with a gain on the fourth.
French duo Victor Dubuisson and Clément Sordet, England’s David Horsey, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Swede Sebastian Soderberg were then at two under.
Earlier, Hansen had dropped a shot in his final two holes to sign for a second round 69, while Bhullar made two birdies and two bogeys in his last eight en route to the same score.
Stone had to play his entire second round on day three and he played brilliantly in the wind to sign for a 70.