Scotland’s David Drysdale produced the best round of his career to take control of the Imperial Collection Russian Open. The Scot was in quite splendid form as he came home in just 29 shots to post a ten under par 62 and take a one stroke lead from Spain’s Carlos Rodiles at Le Meriden Moscow Country Club.
South Africa’s James Kingston and another Spaniard, Francisco Valera, are three behind the leader after opening scores of seven under 65, with Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson-Hed, Alejandro Canizares of Spain and the Frenchman Cédric Menut all very much in contention on six under.
Drysdale, who finished third here last year, went to the turn in three under par 33 before turning on the style to cover the back nine in 29.
After three birdies in his first four holes, the 31 year old bogeyed the par four sixth to fall back to two under for the day. But he soon banished that dropped shot by covering his last ten holes an incredible eight under par to surge through the field and into the lead.
Drysdale’s approach to the 18th green was a perfect illustration of his first round as he shaped a delicious five iron straight at the pin, with his ball stopping just eight inches from the hole.
“I played really well last year and then in practice here on Tuesday and I managed to continue that today,” said Drysdale.
“That’s the lowest score I have had on Tour so it feels pretty good. I shot eight under at Le Golf National once and that was pretty special but this would be up there with the best rounds that I have ever had on Tour. In fact, it’s probably the best I have ever had.”
With so many of The European Tour’s biggest stars on Major duty at the US PGA Championship this week, Drysdale is acutely aware of the increased opportunity to secure a potentially priceless two year European Tour exemption here this week.
“This week is a great opportunity for every guy in the field. I think there’s only one player who is exempt to The European Tour and that’s Ignacio Garrido, so this is a great chance for someone to get a Tour exemption for the next two and a half years. That could be life changing. I have been playing well all summer sand putting myself in great positions. Hopefully this could be the week for me.”
Rodiles is chasing same prize as Drysdale after going through a horrible year away from the golf course in 2005. The hugely talented 31 year old, who lost out in a play-off for the 2003 Volvo Masters at Valderrama, saw his game suffer as he endured the divorce of his parents, his mother’s battle with breast cancer and saw his pregnant wife almost miscarry his baby daughter.
“That felt pretty good especially when you consider the kind of year that I am having. Things have not gone too well for me so far, but it is starting to get better, even though my attitude hasn’t been too good. But I am hitting the ball better and my attitude is changing after going through so many bad times away from golf last year.
“Everything away from the course has worked out alright now, and the changes to my swing are becoming more and more natural. I have been hitting the ball much better recently, so it is just a matter of wanting to be here and wanting to play, which I definitely want after that round today!”