Kim in control at weather-disrupted John Deere Classic

Michael Kim was eight-under for the day and 16-under at the PGA Tour John Deere Classic

Los Angeles (AFP) - Michael Kim was closing in on the halfway lead when weather stopped play at the PGA Tour John Deere Classic on Friday with the American four shots up on his nearest rivals.

Kim, a 24-year-old who was born in South Korea but brought up in California, was chasing his second-straight 63 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, but the horn to halt play because of inclement weather sounded again after he hit his second shot into the green at the 18th hole.

He was eight-under for the day and 16-under for the tournament, his eight birdies on Friday taking his total for the week to 17 with just one bogey.

Overnight leader Steve Wheatcroft headed a group of three players who were in the clubhouse on 12-under par 130. Wheatcroft followed up his career-best 62 on Thursday with a 68. Canada's David Hearn carded a 64 and American Johnson Wagner signed for a 66 to join him on 130.

Kim, seeking his first US PGA Tour title, picked up five birdies in the first nine holes, all with putts from inside 10 feet.

He rolled in a 21-footer for birdie at the 11th, sank a four-footer at 13 and picked up another shot with a 14-foot birdie putt at the 14th before play was halted for the first time for almost an hour.

He wasn't quite able to complete his round before the horn sounded again and play was halted for the night, with the round to resume Saturday morning.

Italy's Francesco Molinari carded a 66 and was tied on 131 with Australian Matt Jones, who posted a 63.

Molinari, who fired a final-round 62 to win the Quicken Loans National two weeks ago, made the John Deere a late addition to his schedule to give himself a test before next week's British Open at Carnoustie.

"Last year I didn’t play before The Open. I went to Birkdale to study the course, and it didn’t work out," said Molinari, who missed the cut. "(I) thought it would be good to keep it going right until the Open."

©Agence France Presse