Thongchai Jaidee is in pole position to retain his Ballantine’s Championship title after climbing to the top of the leaderboard on Jeju Island, South Korea.

The world number 46 played 35 holes in one day to lead at eight-under-par with Argentinian Tano Goya after heavy fog caused tournament organisers to cut the event down to 54 holes.

“I played very well today, both rounds,” the Thai said. “My putting is working this week and also my irons are good. This course is tough to play when it’s windy.”

Jaidee added: “I had a good game plan like last year. Keep it on the fairway, make sure you get on the green and, if your putting is good, you can have a low score.

“I’m very tired. Tomorrow I’ll come back and practice a little bit, maybe hit on the driving range and try to feel good and ready for Sunday.”

Goya, who won his first European Tour title at the Madeira Islands Open in 2009, said: “I knew it was going to be very tough today. I missed a lot of greens because it was so windy and I saved a lot with the putts.”

Australians Brett Rumford and Marcus Fraser lie one shot behind, with Fraser still due to play his second round on Saturday. England’s Mark Foster sits two shots behind after only round.

Five players are grouped on five-under, including Sweden’s Johan Edfors and Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen who have both played 36 holes, as well as Rhys Davies of Wales, Robert Rock of England and Korea’s Ted Oh, who are yet to start round two.

Ernie Els and Anthony Kim are placed on four-under after 18 holes, with Henrik Stenson still in contention after a first round 69.

Tournament organiser, John Paramor explained the decision to cut the event to 54 holes, saying: “Everybody has heard about the problems for passengers who lose their original bookings and have their flights cancelled.

“It would be a disaster for some of these players if they were unable to get home.”

Where next?

Golf News: Golf Monthly June Issue news
Equipment video: Wilson FG Tour irons
Debate: Golf Monthly Forum
Competitions: Win a team in De Vere Pro-Am