Per-Ulrik Johansson’s bid to retain his title at the Inteco Russian Open Golf Championship has been boosted a good start to his second round.
The Swede, who cruised to victory by six shots last year, was left with some work to do after an opening 69 on Thursday left him four shots off the pace in a tie for 30th.
However, he responded in formidable fashion, collecting birdies on the tenth, 11th and 12th holes after starting on the back nine. A birdie on the 14th followed before a run of five pars and a bogey six on the second left him six under par in a tie for ninth.
Despite the surge, Robert Rock has staked the most convincing claim for the early lead. The Englishman started on the back nine at four under par and immediately improved his score to seven under after six holes.
Further birdies followed at the 17th, 18th and second, but a bogey at the fourth brought his score back to nine under before an eagle at the fifth put him clear in front.
Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden is providing the sternest challenge. He fired five birdies on the back nine to reach the turn in 31 before a bogey at the first pegged him back to nine under. He regained the stroke at the second before shooting two straight pars.
The overnight lead of seven under par was shared by four players, but their fortunes have been mixed in the second round. England’s David Carter has shot two birdies and two bogeys in his first nine holes, while Roope Kakko has fallen to four under.
Fredrik Henge has slipped to three under par after three bogeys and a double bogey cancelled out a solitary birdie, but Joakim Bäckström has not started his round.
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