Thursday, 19 August 1999
Scotland's Greig Hutcheon wielded his new putter like a magic wand to card a 10-birdie 63 and lead after the first round of the BMW Russian Open in Moscow.
It would have been a course record, but preferred lies were in operation after heavy rain earlier in the week left parts of the course saturated.
"It still feels like a course record to me," said Hutcheon. "I got a new Ping putter two weeks ago and it was really hot today."
The 26-year-old Scot, who plays out of the Knole Park club in Sevenoaks, was a morning starter from the 10th tee and reached the turn in 31. "I was five under before I woke up," he added. "I made a great start by holing from 30 feet at 10 then from 15 feet at the next and 20 feet at the 12th. When you play like that you get to a point when you think you can't miss.
"It is easily my best round on the Challenge Tour and it could have been even lower because I three-putted the first, my 10th, from 20 feet for my only bogey." But five more birdies came in the next six holes in an inward 32.
Hutcheon held a three-shot lead for most of the day until Yorkshire's Iain Pyman came in with a bogey-free 64. Leeds-based Pyman carded eight birdies in his first 12 holes and looked set to go at least one better than Hutcheon. But he couldn't find another birdie.
"It's my best round since the Oki Pro-Am on the main tour two years ago," said the 26 year old. "I didn't play a lot differently today from how I've been playing for most of the year. But the greens are so good here and I hit it close a lot of times and made the putts.
"It was a bit disappointing not to get another birdie in my last six holes but 64 is still a hell of a round."
Lancastrian Grant Hamerton, who returned 66 for third place, also kept a bogey off his card as he showed improved form with six birdies. Starting at the 10th tee, he went out in 32. "I've not been playing badly recently but today was down to confidence," he said. "I holed a couple of early putts and that helps your confidence. It's my first visit to Russia and I only managed to practice over the front nine yesterday. I hadn't seen the back nine until today but the greens are fantastic. It's a shame the course is so wet after the rain."
Hamerton, also 26, who is attached to the Manchester club, is a shot clear of four players, Welshman Bradley Dredge, Jean Marie Kula, from France, Spain's Jose Manuel Lara, and Johan Skold, from Sweden.
In contrast to the pre-tournament weather, sunshine and little wind graced the first round with 60 players breaking par. Among those who didn't was Justin Rose who shot 73 with a birdie-three at the 18th.

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