Marc Farry carded a flawless seven under par 65 to storm into a two shot lead at seven under par after the first round of the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) at Moscow Country Club.
The 55 year old Frenchman hit 17 greens in regulation round the testing Robert Trent Jones Jnr lay out to go into the second round two shots ahead of Spain’s Miguel Angel Martin, while England’s Phil Golding and Steen Tinning of Denmark are a further shot adrift at four under.
Colin Montgomerie began his quest for a fourth European Senior Tour title of the season with a three under par 69 that left him in a tie for fifth place alongside Paraguay’s Angel Franco, while Farry’s compatriot Jean-Francois Remesy shared seventh with South Africa’s Chris Williams, England’s Andrew Sherborne and American Tim Thelen on two under par after 18 holes.
Leading the way, Farry opened his round with a birdie from six feet on the 327 yard par four first before gaining another shot at the short eighth thanks to a pin point six iron, following a string of pars.
The man from Lamorlaye made five further gains in his opening round, four of which came from within eight feet on the 10th, 14th, 15th and 17th holes, before he finished with a flourish thanks to a 20 footer at the last for a seventh birdie of the day.
“I have been working hard on my wedge shots from 80 yards and in and it paid off today,” he said. “I hit a lot of approaches close and I might even have scored lower because I missed from six feet on the seventh and from around ten feet on the 12th.
Martin produced six birdies in his opening 67 with his only dropped shot coming at the 550 yard fifth hole after he hit a three wood approach into the water and did well to escape with a bogey six.
“I had a bit of mud on my ball but that was about the only time I was in any real trouble,” he said. “I played well in practise and I kept it going today. I have a lot of confidence going into the weekend.”
Montgomerie arrived in Moscow as the clear favourite after winning his third title of the season at last weekend’s Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn, and he could still be the man to beat after an opening 69, which would have been better but for a closing bogey after finding sand from the tee.
“It was a disappointing way to finish,” admitted the victorious 2010 Ryder Cup Captain. “I’d describe it as one of those days when not much happened. I hit a lot of good shots but I couldn’t get the putts to drop. But I’m still in a pretty good position despite that dropped shot at the end.”
The best shot of the first round came from recent SSE Scottish Senior Open champion Mark Davis who had a hole in one with a five iron on the 193 yard par four eight hole. He also birdied the ninth to go out in 32 but four dropped shots on the back nine saw him finish in a share of 20th place after he signed for a level par 72.
Defending champion Simon P Brown dropped two shots on the last to card a four over par 76 on day one, while 2004 Russian Open winner Gary Emerson finished a couple further back in a share of 65th place.
Scores after round 1:
65 M Farry (Fra) ,
67 M Martin (Esp) ,
68 P Golding (Eng) , S Tinning (Den) ,
69 A Franco (Par) , C Montgomerie (Sco) ,
70 T Thelen (USA) , A Sherborne (Eng) , C Williams (RSA) , J Remesy (Fra) ,
71 P Wesselingh (Eng) , G Brand Jnr (Sco) , S Luna (Esp) , B Cameron (Eng) , G Manson (Aut) , D O’Sullivan (Irl) , B Ruangkit (Tha) , G Rusnak (USA) , W Grant (Eng) ,
72 M Cunning (USA) , C Mason (Eng) , A Oldcorn (Sco) , P Eales (Eng) , B Conser (USA) , M Davis (Eng) , C Monasterio (Arg) ,
73 J Bruner (USA) , S Van Vuuren (RSA) , T Price (Aus) , R Drummond (Sco) , R Gibson (Can) , L Carbonetti (Arg) , J Berendt (Arg) , R Rafferty (Nir) , M McLean (Eng) , A Bossert (Sui) , J Quiros (Esp) , B Lane (Eng) , N Ratcliffe (Aus) ,
74 G Wolstenholme (Eng) , H Carbonetti (Arg) , B Marchbank (Sco) , N Job (Eng) , S Cipa (Eng) , G Ryall (Eng) , E Romero (Arg) , G Brand (Eng) , B Longmuir (Sco) , M Harwood (Aus) , P Linhart (Esp) , R Thompson (USA) , B Lincoln (RSA) ,
75 A Murray (Eng) , P Fowler (Aus) , P Walton (Irl) ,
76 J Smith (USA) , S Brown (Eng) , K Spurgeon (Eng) , H Buhrmann (RSA) , S McAllister (Sco) , J Gould (Eng) , J Carriles (Esp) ,
77 J King (Eng) , D Hospital (Esp) ,
78 G Emerson (Eng) , P Jonas (Can) ,
79 M Mackenzie (Eng) , M Bianco (Ita) ,
80 G Joyner (Aus) , M Belsham (Eng) ,
81 A Garrido (Esp) ,
82 J Sallat (Fra) ,