Dirty dozen ruins day for McGrane as Dyson stars
FORMER Irish Open winner Simon Dyson would love to replicate the form of 2011 which brought him that prestigious win in Killarney, but he has his work cut out in the European Tour's M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
The six-time European Tour winner from England has not entered the winner's circle since 2011 when he won in Ireland and also in Holland, and has made just seven cuts in his first 15 events of 2013.
Dyson, who occupied a place in the top 30 of the world rankings at the start of 2012 but has now slipped to 164th, shot an opening-round five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first-round lead with Swede Rikard Karlberg and China's Liang Wen-chong.
"That was as good as I have played for a long, long time," said Dyson, who finished fifth in France and tied 12th in Scotland on his last two appearances to climb to 81st in the Race to Dubai standings.
The Irish are small in number at the tournament, which is being played on a challenging Jack Nicklaus-designed course situated 40km outside Moscow, but Michael Hoey, Gareth Shaw and David Higgins kept themselves in contention.
Hoey, four times a winner on Tour, shot a two-under-par 70. Shaw, whose season ignited when he got a chance to play the Irish Open at Carton House recently, carded a 71, as did Kerryman Higgins.
Not so happy was rookie pro Alan Dunbar, last year's British Amateur champion, after carding a 75, and definitely down in the dumps was Damien McGrane, who shot an eight-over-par 80.
McGrane is normally a steady operator and, if you could take the par-five eighth hole off his card he fared well, scoring five birdies, but two bogeys and two double-bogeys. Unfortunately the eighth proved a disaster and McGrane ran up a horrible 12 there.
Meanwhile, on the Challenge Tour, Dubliner Niall Kearney had a bogey-free round of 67 for five-under-par in the Le Vaudreil Challenge in France, while Ballyliffin's Brendan McCarroll shot 68.
Holland's Daan Huizing leads the field at 11-under-par 61, with England's Jason Barnes the next best at nine-under.