Jimenez charges into share of lead at Ballantine's before weather halts play

miguel angel jimenez
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Miguel Angel Jimenez had three birdies in his first nine holes Saturday to catch overnight leader Brett Rumford.
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PA Sport and Associated Press

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Published: Saturday, April 30, 2011 | 11:18 a.m.

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Brett Rumford shared the lead at 10 under when third-round play in the Ballantine’s Championship was suspended Saturday because of heavy rain and lightning.

Jimenez, the 47-year-old Spanish star who has 18 European Tour victories, and Rumford, from Australia, completed nine holes. Jimenez was 3 under for the day, and Rumford was even par on the Blackstone course.

2011 BALLANTINE'S CHAMPIONSHIP

With four of the world's top 20 players on hand, this edition of the Ballantine's Championship features its strongest field ever.

Wales’ Rhys Davies was a stroke back at 8 under with seven holes left. American star Dustin Johnson was 7 under with eight holes to play, and top-ranked Lee Westwood was 6 under with six holes left, thanks in part to birdies at the first and second holes.

“Well as predicted the thunder/lightning and heavy rains come in!” Westwood posted on his Twitter account.

The event is sanctioned by the European and Asians tours and the Korea PGA.

Jimenez, who opened with back-to-back birdies, was 3 under par on his first nine holes, while Rumford, who led by three shots overnight, was level par through nine after a bogey and a birdie.

Jimenez was delighted with his start to the third round.

"I played very well the first nine holes, hitting it very well -- no bogeys, three birdies," the Spaniard said. "I birdied the first and second hole, played very well on those two holes. Tomorrow I play 27 holes. I feel good, I feel fine. Tomorrow is a marathon."

Rumford admitted he found the going tough as he saw his lead wiped out.

"There were some tricky pins out there today. They were placed up on the top part of all the tiers and ridges and it was pretty tricky trying to get on the right tier,” he explained. "You had to be very, very precise. I stayed patient and hit some nice golf shots, but unfortunately just kept hitting nice golf shots to about 40, 50 feet."