Moscow - China's Liang Wen-Chong hit a five-under par 67 to grab a share of the lead after the Russian Open first round on Thursday.
Liang, whose only European Tour title came six years ago in Singapore, carded six birdies against one bogey as he continued the form that took him to third place finishes in Austria and India this season.
"I played really nicely today and hit the ball in very close to a lot of pins so had some fairly easy birdies," said Liang.
"It is a very beautiful course and that stretch of three holes from 11 to 13 are just so beautiful.
"They are three of the best holes we will play on Tour this year."
England's Simon Dyson and Rikard Karlberg of Sweden also topped the leaderboard after the first day at the Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
Dyson, a six-time European Tour winner who has slipped to 164th in the world, made just seven cuts in his first 15 events of 2013.
Former world tennis No 1, Yevgeny Kafelnikov carded 81 and looks certain to miss the cut on Friday.
Leading and selected first round scores in the European Tour Russian Open at the Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club on Thursday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 72):
67 - Simon Dyson, Rikard Karlberg (SWE), Liang Wen-Chong (CHN)
68 - Alessandro Tadini (ITA), Javier Colomo (ESP), Matthew Baldwin, James Morrison
69 - Matthew Nixon, Maarten Lafeber (NED), Matteo Delpodio (ITA), Mikko Korhonen (FIN), Sam Little, Mark Foster
70 - Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (FRA), Michael Campbell (NZL), Daniel Gaunt (AUS), David Horsey, Jake Roos (RSA), Anthony Snobeck (FRA), Scott Hend (AUS), Alexandre Kaleka (FRA), Andreas Harto (DEN), Pablo Martin Benavides (ESP), Michael Hoey
71 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Gareth Shaw, Magnus A Carlsson (SWE), James Kingston (RSA), Haydn Porteous (RSA), Tom Lewis, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Jorge Fernandez-Valdes (ARG), Jamie Elson, Prom Meesawat (THA), Robert Rock, Jurgen Maurer (AUT), David Higgins, Nils Floren (SWE), Chris Lloyd
72 - Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (IND)
73 - Tjaart Van Der Walt (RSA)
74 - Oliver Bekker (RSA), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND)
75 - Justin Walters (RSA)
76 - Shiv Kapur (IND)
78 - Anirban Lahiri (IND)
81 - Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)