Simon Dyson among early leaders in Russia
Horror show on the eighth costs Damien McGrane dearly, as Michael Hoey leads Irish challenge
Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland in action during the first round of the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club near Moscow, Russia. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images
The Englishman, tipped as the pre-tournament favourite, shot a five-under-par 67 that included five birdies today, putting him at the head of the field alongside Swede Rikard Karlberg and China’s Liang Wen-chong.
Best of the Irish was Michael Hoey, who finished two under par after a round of 70. He is a shot ahead of fellow Ulsterman Gareth Shaw and David Higgins, with Alan Dunbar on three over. However, Damien McGrane carded a seven-over-par 12 on the par-five eighth on his way to an eight over round of 80.
Today’s round continues a return to form for Dyson, who made just seven cuts in his first 15 events of 2013 but then finished fifth in the Alstom Open de France and tied 12th in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on his last two appearances to climb to 81st in the Race to Dubai.
“That was as good as I have played for a long, long time,” Dyson told europeantour.com. “I missed one fairway and that was by a yard and then just hit so many quality iron shots. It was coming straight out of the middle of the clubface all day and when you are hitting it like that then you just have to enjoy and try to take as many chances as you can.
“I don’t want to say I am disappointed with five under because you can never be too disappointed with that, but it could have been a lot better because I missed a few real good birdie chances and left a few shots out there today. But, as I said, I am not going to get too down on myself because I played so well out there today and I just can’t wait to get back out there now because I am feeling good.”
Karlberg overcame a slow start to post the best round of the morning starters, bogeying the first two holes before atoning with five birdies as well as a pitch-in eagle at the long eighth, and Liang carded six birdies against a solitary bogey.
Dyson’s compatriots Matthew Baldwin and James Morrison, Javier Colomo of Spain and Italian Alessandro Tadini all went round in 68 to lie one off the lead. Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden, who shot 77, managed a hole in one on the 220-yard 16th.