MOSCOW -- Simon Dyson shot a 5-under 67 Thursday to share the lead on the opening day of the M2M Russian Open on the European Tour.
Dyson is tied with Rikard Karlberg and Liang Wen-chong at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
Karlberg bogeyed the opening two holes but recovered with five birdies and an eagle on the long eighth. Liang, whose only European Tour title came six years ago, bogeyed the 12th but had six birdies.
Matthew Baldwin, James Morrison, Alessandro Tadini and Javier Colomo were one stroke behind.
Dyson, a six-time European Tour winner, hasn’t won since 2011 and has made just seven cuts in his first 15 events of 2013.
"That was as good as I have played for a long, long time,” said Dyson, who finished fifth in France and tied for 12th in Scotland in his last two appearances. “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.”
Karlberg overcame a slow start to post the best round of the morning starters. The 26-year-old, playing his 50th European Tour event despite the fact he has never secured a full playing card, bogeyed the first two holes but atoned with five birdies and a pitch-in eagle at the long eighth.
"It was really good today and a great start for me,” said Karlberg. “It wasn't the best start to the round with two bogeys in the first two holes, but I managed to get things back pretty quickly and went on a great run near the turn and managed to turn it around.
"The eagle was the highlight of the day for me,” he added. “I actually hit the drive a little too far to the right and then was thinking of hitting 3-wood at the green, but I knew if I hit it right then I wouldn't have a chance to hold the ball on the green. So I decided to lay up to give myself a good yardage which I did and then hit a perfect wedge that landed four meters behind the pin and spun back into the hole.”
Liang, whose only European Tour title came six years ago in Singapore, carded six birdies against a solitary bogey as he continued the form that took him to third place finishes in Austria and India this season.
"I played really nicely today and hit the ball in very close to a lot of pins so had some fairly easy birdies,” he said. “It is a very beautiful course, and that stretch of three holes from 11 to 13 are just so beautiful. They are three of the best holes we will play on tour this year."