Alexandre Kaleka’s bid for consecutive M2M Russian Open titles improved as the Frenchman formed part of a four-man leading group early on in the third round at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
Kaleka captured this event last year, when it formed part of the Challenge Tour schedule, and began the day a shot behind halfway leader Rikard Karlberg.
However, with the Swede double bogeying the second, Kaleka’s birdie at the same hole took him to eight under par and level with Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, England’s James Morrison and China’s Liang Wen-chong.
Morrison had made the biggest move of the leading quartet, birdieing the first three holes, while Hoey and Liang both birdied the first.
Karlberg, Australian Scott Hend and England’s Matthew Baldwin were all one behind, with English pair Matthew Nixon and Mark Foster two off the pace on six under.
Kaleka’s fine start continued with further birdies at the fourth, sixth and seventh, and at 11 under he led by two from Hoey, Morrison and Baldwin.
Liang was a shot further back on eight under in fifth, but Karlberg’s day got no better with bogeys at the fifth and sixth.