Moscow Region, Russia – Simon Dyson shot 5-under-par 67 on Thursday to share the lead with Rikard Karlberg and Wen-Chong Liang after the first round of the Russian Open.
Dyson, a six-time European Tour winner, played bogey-free at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club. The 35-year-old made just seven of his first 15 cuts this season, but has recently rounded into form with consecutive top-15 finishes.
"I missed one fairway and that was by a yard and then just hit so many quality iron shots," he said. "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."
Alessandro Tadini, James Morrison, Javier Colomo and Matthew Baldwin share fourth place after matching 4-under 68s, while Mark Foster, Maarten Lafeber, Sam Little, Matteo DelPodio, Mikko Korhonen and Matthew Nixon are tied for eighth at minus-3.
Karlberg was the first to hit the clubhouse at 5-under, overcoming a sluggish start which featured bogeys on Nos. 1 and 2.
The 26-year-old got rolling with back-to-back birdies from the sixth, then gathered speed with and eagle at the 564-yard, par-5 eighth.
Around the turn, he added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14, then turned the trick again at the last to grab the lead.
"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."
Liang, who is searching for his first European Tour victory since earning his maiden title in 2007, went off one group ahead of Dyson and birdied the fourth before closing his outward 33 with back-to-back gains from the eighth.
He made it three straight around the turn, slipped to a bogey at the 12th, then birdied two straight from the 14th to join Karlberg at 5-under.
"I played really nicely today and hit the ball in very close to a lot of pins so had some fairly easy birdies," said Liang, who parred his final three holes.
Dyson highlighted his bogey-free day with gains at Nos. 4, 8, 10, 13 and 15, the last of which moved him into a share of the lead at 5-under.
"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," he said. "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."
NOTES: Dyson finished fifth at the Alstom Open de France and tied for 12th in his previous start at the Scottish Open ... He last won on the European Tour in 2011, at the KLM Open and the Irish Open ... Liang's only win in the circuit came at the 2007 Singapore Masters ... Karlberg is playing is his 50th European Tour event despite never securing a full playing card.