"Karlberg leads in Russia, Liang lurks"

Sat 27 Jul 2013

"Karlberg leads in Russia, Liang lurks"

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July 27: Asian Tour member Rikard Karlberg will take a two-shot lead into the weekend at the Russian Open as the Swede seeks his maiden European Tour title.
The 26-year-old Swede, who is a two-time Asian Tour winner, shot a four-under-par 68 at Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club to reach nine-under for the halfway stage.
That was two clear of 2007 Asian Tour number one Liang Wen-chong of China, England’s Matthew Baldwin, France’s Alexandre Kaleka, and Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey.
“It was a pretty tough day out there today because the wind got really strong in the middle of the round and caused quite a few problems,” said Karlberg, who birdied four of his first six holes, dropped shots at the 18th and fifth, then finished with two gains over the closing stretch to reclaim his advantage.
“But I made a really good start to the round and then when the conditions got worse I managed to hang in there and then had a great finish with two birdies in my last few holes which is very satisfying obviously.
“I am in a great position right now but there is still a long way to go. We are only at the halfway stage and I need to keep doing what I have been doing and making birdies to have a chance.
“I am looking forward to the weekend – this is why we play the game; to get ourselves into these positions so hopefully I can keep playing well and make another good score tomorrow and we will go from there.”
Overnight co-leader Liang had been level with Karlberg and England’s Simon Dyson on five under par after the first round.
The 34-year-old Liang had not posted a top-10 finish in more than two years prior to finishing third in India and Austria this season.
Having bogeyed the opening hole this morning, he fought back with four birdies and only one further dropped shot.
“I am very happy with the score because the conditions were a lot tougher than yesterday afternoon,” he said. “This morning it was cold and wet and the wind was really difficult to manage, so to shoot two under is a good result for me this morning."
Australian Scott Hend, winner of the Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT, shot a 69 for tied seventh place, four shots off the lead.
In the British Senior Open, Filipino veteran Frankie Minoza shot a 78 to fall off the pace on 146, 11 shots behind the leader. He had opened with a 68 for tied second place on Thursday.