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Friday, 19 March 2010

Against the backdrop of the Lion’s Hillock – the commemorative monument of the Battle of Waterloo – which symbolizes courage and victory, Belgium’s best golfers produced an unforgettable first round of the Telenet Trophy as Nicolas Colsaerts and Didier De Vooght stormed into a share of the lead at the stunning Royal Waterloo Golf Club.

Colsaerts and De Vooght opened the Challenge Tour event with a pair of remarkable seven under par 65s, before being joined in the top ten by their countrymen Jerome Theunis and Nicolas Vanhootegem, who posted respective scores of five under 67 and four under 68, much to the delight of the home crowd.

It was Colsaerts, playing at his home club, who set the tone for the day with his brilliant eagle two on his first hole of the day, the 396 yard par four tenth, where he boomed a drive down the fairway before holing his approach, a gentle flick of a wedge from just 90 yards.

From there, the 24 year old from Brussels crafted a wonderful opening round displaying all of his gifts – especially his superb iron play – as he complimented his eagle with a further six birdies and just a single dropped shot.

“I made the two at my first, the tenth hole, and then I just played well all day,” said Colsaerts.

“The further we went on the course the better I seemed to play. I found all the easier parts of the greens today and it was pin-point times but I couldn’t completely close the deal over the last three holes. I had three great chances for birdies there but didn’t hole any of them.

“But I played very well and the crowds were really good. By the end of the round my iron play had just got better and better so they were all cheering and roaring so it was great fun out there.”

As Colsaerts made the perfect start to his first round, De Vooght struggled for the first three holes, bogeying the 11th and 12th to fall back to two over par. The 33 year old then exploded into a quite unbelievable run of form that saw him make ten birdies in the space of 14 holes, and took him to eight under par as he teed off at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

He was unlucky to find the fairway bunker off the tee and unfortunate again to miss his six foot par putt, but, in the end, he was still delighted with was a stunning first round.

“That was very satisfying consider the fact I didn’t exactly get off to a flying start when I was two over par after three, but then had ten birdies after that which was awesome,” said De Vooght, who recently celebrated becoming a father for the second time following the birth of his son, Sebastian, on February 11, 2007.

“It’s been a great day for Belgian golf. It was funny after four holes today. I looked at the leaderboard and I was two over and Nicolas was four under after seven holes and I was wondering if we were playing the same golf course!

“Nicolas and I are good friends even though there is a ten year age gap between us. When he was starting out I was coming to the end of my amateur career so we used to drive to a lot of events together. Well, I used to drive to the events because he was too young to drive so he had to travel with me because I had a license and he didn’t! I still call him ‘gamin’ which means kid in French – hopefully me and the kid can stay at the top of the leaderboard!”

Theunis’s 67 lifted him into a five-way share of  fourth place, while Vanhootegem is in a three-man tie for eighth.

Chile’s Felipe Aguilar is just a single stroke off the lead after a fine six under 66, but the day belonged to Colsaerts, De Vooght, Theunis and Vanhootegem who flew the Belgian flag with courage and distinction at Royal Waterloo.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1VANHOOTEGEM, NicolasBEL18-17
2AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-13
3COLES, RobertENG18-11
4DE VOOGHT, DidierBEL18-10
5SNOBECK, AnthonyFRA18-9
T6VAN WEERELT, InderNED18-8
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