A pair of European Tour journeyman with distant hopes of qualifying for the Race to Dubai year-end series, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Australia’s Daniel Gaunt, are tied for the lead at the M2M Russian Open at the conclusion of Thursday’s first round.
Jamieson, currently ranked 98th in the Race to Dubai standings, couldn’t have started off much hotter, birdying the first four holes in succession on his way to a 6-under 65.
Gaunt looked even better for most of the round, 3-under at the turn before adding another birdie on No. 10 and an eagle 3 on the 561-yard No. 13 to reach 6-under. He gave two of the strokes back with a double bogey 6 on No. 15, but recovered with birdies on 16 and 18 to tie Jamieson at 6-under.
Two more players on the outside looking end but with outside chances to reach the top 60 for the Final Series are tied for third: England’s Lee Slattery (120th) and Wales’ Bradley Dredge (95th).
The tournament’s defending champion, David Horsey, is one of eight players tied for fifth at 4-under, two strokes off the lead. One of just two players in the field who currently is in the Top 60 of the Race to Dubai standings, Horsey shook off two bogeys on the front nine by birdying the last two holes of his round Thursday.
Sixteen-year-old Kazakhstan amateur Daulet Tulebayev had a rough go of things in his European Tour debut, shooting a 4-over 75 that seemed plague by nerves on the front nine as he hit the turn 6-over with four bogeys and a double bogey.
He was able to shake off the jitters with back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13, and after bogeying 17 responded with another birdie on 18 to finish the back nine 2-under.