Jarmo Sandelin and former champion Mikael Lundberg have done their best to ensure a Swedish player retains the Inteco Russian Open Golf Championship by each taking a share of the clubhouse lead midway through the second round.
The pair, who are bidding to follow up the success of compatriot Per-Ulrik Johansson at last year’s event, both produced stunning eight under par rounds of 64 to move to 13 under overall.
It puts one shot of daylight between them and English rival Robert Rock, who set the early pace at 12 under following a 64, while Andrew Marshall and Jamie Mole, both of England, are tied for fourth in the clubhouse on eight under par.
Former Ryder Cup player Sandelin held onto his card for The European Tour at the end of last season by €77, but is now vying for his first title since 2002.
Starting from the tenth, the 41 year old picked up shots at the 11th and 12th and then rolled in a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th to reach the turn in 31.
For the second day in succession he bogeyed the first but bounced back with a birdie on the next after chipping within inches of the hole.
Sandelin also birdied the sixth and then hit the pin with his approach to the seventh. The ball unfortunately bounced 20 feet away but the former rookie of the year holed for birdie and then hit his tee shot at the eighth to within inches of the hole to make it three in a row.
Lundberg, who won this event in 2002, looked equally impressive. He birdied the first, claimed an eagle at the second and then, having bogeyed the next two, picked up strokes at the sixth and eighth.
Birdies followed on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 17th to complete the back nine in 31, giving him a clubhouse score of 131.
Rock started from the tenth and matched Sandelin’s outward half of 31.
The 31 year old then birdied the second and bogeyed the fourth before holing from 30 feet for eagle on the par five fifth. He picked up another birdie on the eighth to record a 64.
Fredrik Andersson Hed added to the Swedish dominance by moving to seven under - a tie for sixth - after a 69.
Defending champion Johansson was six off the lead after adding a 68 to his opening 69 to lie seven under par.
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