Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els in contention at Singapore Open

Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els in contention at Singapore Open

SINGAPORE (AP) — Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat jumped to a two-stroke lead at the Singapore Open, which was called because of darkness before roughly half the players could finish the third round Saturday.

Nirat used three birdies and an eagle in 11 holes to move to 9-under, two strokes ahead of England’s Simon Dyson, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing. Play was largely rain-free Saturday after being delayed the first two days of the tournament because of lightning.

Nirat said he was “95 percent” sure he would win the tournament Sunday.

Some of golf’s biggest names moved back into contention Saturday with solid, if truncated, performances. American Phil Mickelson, who lost his world number two ranking to Spain’s Sergio Garcia last week, was 4-under through 14 holes, leaving him four strokes off the lead.

“I’m happy with the way I played,” Mickelson said. “I’ll need to make a few birdies tomorrow as there are a lot of good players in front of me.”

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, winner of two majors in 2008, shot a 5-under 66 and is also 4 shots back, along with South Africa’s Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and India’s Jeev Mihha Singh.

Lam, seeking to become the first Singaporean to ever win the $5 million tournament, said boisterous local fans have helped inspire his play.

“The support from the crowd is awesome,” Lam said. “It’s unbelievable how good the galleries are here this week.”

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