Michael Hoey (Getty Images)
Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey put himself in position to set an imposing clubhouse target during the opening round of the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
Four-time European Tour winner Hoey has not finished better than 25th on The European Tour this season and had missed seven of his last ten cuts coming into the event.
It looked like being another tough day at the office when the 34 year old bogeyed the tenth - his opening hole - but he birdied four of the next five.
Dropped shots at the 16th and sixth were more than compensated by a run of four successive gains from the first to leave him five under with two holes left to play.
That was two shots ahead of clubhouse leader Matthew Nixon - the Englishman sitting on three under alongside Swede Rikard Karlberg and Spain’s Javier Colomo.
Nixon, who came through Qualifying School last year for third season running, carded birdies at the fourth, eighth and 14th in a blemish-free round of 69.