Ian Poulter continued his brilliant form at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal before bad weather cut short the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open on Friday.

Tee times had been brought forward by 90 minutes in an attempt to get play completed, but the forecast thunderstorm arrived earlier than expected and forced play to be suspended shortly after noon local time.

Poulter had just completed the 14th hole at the time and wrote on Twitter: "Now that was a close call. On 14th green when lightning struck very close by. Could be a long delay now. Storm could be in for a while."

Shane Lowry managed to get 14 holes of his second round played before being called in, and was five under for the day, and seven under overall.

Darren Clarke was two under for the day after 15 holes to lie one over par and Michael Hoey again found conditions challenging, playing the first 14 holes of his second round in four over to lie 14 over.

Tournament officials initially announced play would resume after a delay of more than two-and-a-half hours, only for the weather to close in again shortly before the planned restart.

Play was therefore abandoned for the day and scheduled to restart at 8am on Saturday, with Poulter on 13 under par and holding a three-shot lead over Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge.

Poulter, whose opening 64 meant he was a total of 27 under par for his last five rounds in Antalya, began the day a shot behind Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and saw the gap widen as the oldest winner in European Tour history made birdies at the first two holes.

However, Jimenez - who will celebrate his 51st birthday in January - then bogeyed the fourth and Poulter took advantage with birdies on the same hole and the sixth and seventh to move into the lead.

The 38-year-old extended his advantage to three shots with a birdie from six feet on the 10th before chipping to within inches of the hole on the par-five 11th to set up another.

Poulter carded just his second bogey of the week by three-putting the 12th as a strong wind suddenly kicked up ahead of the storm, but the change in conditions meant the world number 40 was able to reach the par-five 13th in two and card an easy birdie.

De Jonge had carded four birdies and one bogey in 13 holes to move into second place on 10 under par, with Australian Wade Ormsby and American Brooks Koepka a further shot back.

Jimenez had bogeyed the 12th and 13th before play was suspended to fall five off the pace on eight under alongside South African Branden Grace.

Defending champion Victor Dubuisson was faring even worse at two over par and also having to cope with a persistent nose bleed, which meant the Ryder Cup star was playing in a blood-stained shirt and had some tissue paper stuffed up his right nostril.

Poulter, whose last victory came in the HSBC Champions event in 2012, said: "I'm playing nicely and to be on the top of the leaderboard is always nice. It would have been nice to finish the round off but I guess it wasn't meant to be today.

"I guess we'll have to wait this one out, see what the weather is going to be like. It's supposed to be pretty bad tonight and first thing in the morning. Hopefully we can get round two finished at some stage tomorrow and obviously get cracking on round three.

"It [the weather] was perfect for a while until we kind of got on to the 11th green and then things changed quite significantly. The wind switched 180 degrees and really started to blow 20, 30mph.

"It was tricky for probably two holes and then the storm come in pretty quick from there and obviously [we were] off the course."