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(Reuters) - Big-hitting Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat will take a one-shot clubhouse lead into the final round of the weather-hit Malaysian Open on Sunday as world number three Luke Donald missed his first cut on the European Tour.
South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, who was flown in by helicopter for his third round, was a shot behind after two holes as the $2.75 million co-sanctioned Asian Tour event was reduced to 54 holes.
The leaders managed just two holes of their third round before play was suspended for the third day in succession at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The 23-year-old Kiradech returned in the morning to card a four-under-par 68 in the second round to go two shots ahead of the chasing pack but his cushion was cut to one after he dropped a shot on the second hole in the third round.
Former Masters winner Schwartzel was about to play his third shot to the par-five third hole when the sirens sounded to indicate an approaching thunderstorm and the suspension of play.
Ireland's triple major winner Padraig Harrington was among seven players tied for the third spot, two shots off the pace.
Donald, who held the world number one ranking for a combined 56 weeks in 2011 and 2012, saw his consistent streak in the Tour end after posting rounds of 74 and 73 for a three-over par total, three over the cut mark.
"I guess all good runs come to an end eventually. Hugely disappointed to miss my first ever cut in a European Tour event," Donald posted on his Twitter account.
The Englishman was hopeful that the missed cut will have no bearing on his game when he tees up in search of his first major title at the U.S. Masters in under three weeks' time.
"I've got a couple of weeks off to get ready for Augusta and I'll obviously be very diligent in my preparation," the 35-year old told the European Tour website (www.europeantour.com).
"I would have loved to go back home in form, but in golf you just never know.
"We've seen it many times before when people go into tournaments with very little form and win - including Majors. So you just have to keep plugging and hope it's your turn."
Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello, among six players on eight-under and three off the lead, continued to shine despite the theft of his personal possessions including his passport in Switzerland when he was travelling to the tournament.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Patrick Johnston and Tom Pilcher)