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Karlberg leads by 2 in Russia

Rikard Karlberg carded a 4-under 68 on Friday to grab a 2-stroke lead at the end of the second round of the Russian Open.

Karlberg, who was one of three overnight leaders, finished 36 holes at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club at 9-under-par 135.

"It was a pretty tough day out there today because the wind got really strong in the middle of the round and caused quite a few problems," said Karlberg. "I am in a great position right now but there is still a long way to go. We are only at the halfway stage and I need to keep doing what I have been doing and making birdies to have a chance."

Wen-chong Liang also held a share of the first-round lead and shot a 2-under 70 during his second round to move into a tie for second place with Alexandre Kaleka (67), Michael Hoey (67) and Matthew Baldwin (69) at 7-under.

Mark Foster (69) owns sole possession of sixth at 6-under 138, while Scott Hend (69), Matthew Nixon (70), Mikko Korhonen (70) and James Morrison (71) occupy seventh at minus-5.

Karlberg started on the back nine and raced out of the gate with four birdies over his first six holes to move to 9-under, grabbing the outright lead from Liang, Baldwin and Kaleka, who all went out with the morning wave and set the clubhouse mark.

Karlberg tripped to bogeys at the 18th and fifth to fall out of sole possession of first place, but reclaimed the outright lead with a birdie at the sixth.

He regained his 2-stroke cushion with a gain at the eighth and closed with a par at the last to end at 9-under.

Liang was the first of the overnight leaders to head out onto the course and opened his second round with a bogey at the 10th, but bounced right back with a birdie at the 11th.

After parring his next four holes, he birdied the 16th to make the turn at 6- under for the tournament.

He countered a gain at the second with a bogey at the fourth to remain there before picking up another shot at the eighth to stay on top of the leaderboard at 7-under until Karlberg surpassed him later in the day.

"I am very happy with the score because the conditions were a lot tougher than yesterday afternoon," Liang said. "This morning it was cold and wet and the wind was really difficult to manage, so to shoot 2-under is a good result for me this morning."

Baldwin also started on the back nine and recorded birdies at Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to highlight an outward 33.

He fell back to 1-under for the day with bogeys at the third and fifth, but closed with birdies at the sixth and ninth to meet Liang at 7-under.

Kaleka recorded four birdies over his first eight holes before tripping to his second double-bogey 6 in the past two days at the 12th to fall back to 4-under for the tournament.

The Frenchman then reeled off three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 14th to reach 7-under.

Hoey rolled in birdies at the first, second, fourth and eighth to make the turn at 6-under.

He then played his back nine at 1-under by countering birdies at Nos. 11, 13, 15 and 17 with bogeys at the 12th, 14th and 16th to finish two shots off the pace.

NOTES: Simon Dyson, who was the third co-leader at the end of the first round, tripped to a 2-over 74 on Friday to fall into a tie for 12th at 3-under-par 141 ... Karlberg is playing in his 50th European Tour event despite never securing a full playing card ... He is seeking his first career win on tour ... The cut line was set at 4-over-par 148, with 68 players advancing to the weekend.