Taichi Kho’s bid to become the first player from Hong Kong to win an Asian Tour event and qualify for The Open has been temporarily put on hold after organisers announced that the World City Championship will be reduced to 54 holes.

Lightning and rain stopped Saturday’s third round at 11.48am local time at the Hong Kong Golf Club and play was unable to restart again as the inclement weather persisted — leaving a strong field, including LIV Golfers and LIV Golf hopefuls waiting in the clubhouse.

Tournament leader Kho was playing the third when the siren halted play. He has a four-shot lead over playing-partner Miguel Tabuena from the Philippines. Kho had started the day with a two-shot advantage but that became five when he made birdie on the first against Tabuena’s double. The Filipino bounced back with a birdie on the following hole.

Only three groups were able to complete their third rounds, meaning 63 players will recommence on Sunday at 8.05am.

“After careful consideration we have decided to reduce the World City Championship to 54 holes, because of the inclement weather today and the forecast for it to continue tomorrow,” said Chokchai Boonprasert, Tournament Director, Asian Tour.

“The course, including the bunkers and approach areas, were waterlogged, after the heavy downpour. This is obviously unfortunate, and we feel very sorry for all the fans who made the trip here today, but it was the only sensible course of action.

“We are confident we will be able to complete the tournament tomorrow, with the four places in The Open remaining up for grabs.”

A gripping final day is expected tomorrow as Kho attempts to produce one of the greatest performances by a Hong Kong sports person.

The 22-year-old rising star saids: “At the end of the day good golf is good golf. I understand that it’s 18 holes closer to the finish now, but good golf takes care of anything. It’s almost useless to think about the result, or how many holes are left, how many shots I’m ahead, it’s only just a distraction. All I’m focused on is myself, the golf ball and the golf course.”

Korean Yoseop Seo, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Suradit Yongcharoenchai and New Zealander Michael Hendy are next best placed, six behind Kho having played the opening few holes.

LIV Golfers Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson as further down the field, while Wade Ormsby, winner of the International Series Thailand and one of the frontrunners for a place on the LIV Golf League next year, is on four-under.