Poulter holds first round lead at Singapore Open

SINGAPORE: Ian Poulter held a one-stroke lead over Ernie Els when the first round of the Singapore Open was finally completed Friday after twice being suspended because of lightning.

Play was suspended for two hours Friday and three hours Thursday as thunderstorms lashed the par-71 Sentosa Golf Club.

Poulter, who had six birdies Thursday, finished the round at 5-under 66, one stroke ahead of Els and Taiwanese qualifier Chan Yih-shin. Six golfers were tied at 3 under, including Spanish Open champion Thomas Levet of France, Chile's Felipe Aguilar and Pablo Martin of Spain.

Phil Mickelson, who had an eagle and three birdies to go along with three bogeys for a 69 on Thursday, was in a group of 11 players at 2 under.

Poulter is looking to move up the rankings of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, where he's currently in 29th place. The Singapore Open is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington finished his first round Friday morning at 3 over, while Australia's Geoff Ogilvy shot a 70.