Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Nicolas Colsaerts  (Getty Images)
Nicolas Colsaerts (Getty Images)

Nicolas Colsaerts did not expect to be able to return to his own country and play European Tour golf.

This week's Belgian Knockout marks the return of European Tour golf to the country for the first time since 2000, with Thomas Pieters hosting the event at Rinkven International Golf Club in Antwerp.

Colsaerts, who turned pro in the same year as the last Belgian Open, joins Pieters and Thomas Detry as the home hopes in the tournament - and will also be showing off his homeland to young son Jackson, who was born in February.

He said: "To be perfectly honest with you it's a bit strange - it never really crossed my mind in more than 15 years to ever have the chance to play the European Tour in Belgium. But thanks to the Pieters family, it's quite nice to bring my three-month-old for the first time in Belgium for such an occasion.

"I played two Belgian Opens as an amateur. It was a totally different generation, a totally different sport, a totally different Tour and a totally different vibe.

"It's good to come back to Belgium, give the chance to the Belgian people to see the three of us play.

I think the biggest impact for this tournament to begin to see the light was Thomas Pieters - Nicolas Colsaerts

"I was on my own for 15 years so basically had no intention of bringing back the Belgian Open but now it makes sense with three of us being regulars on Tour."

Colsaerts praised the efforts of Pieters and his family for hosting the event and believes the two of them and Detry can help build the game further in Belgium.

"I think the biggest impact for this tournament to begin to see the light was Thomas Pieters," Colsaerts added. "They're the ones behind it. They're the ones that had the will to bring it back.

"It's still fresh in people's minds, he played The Ryder Cup two years ago, he's won three times in a stretch of a year and a half. So it's mainly because of what Thomas did the last couple of years.

"I did put it on the map a little bit earlier than that to a certain extent but he's certainly taken over the last couple of years. I couldn't really catch up with him because he's quite good!

"All of us have helped a little bit. And even Thomas Detry now, with the connection with the younger guys that he's maybe a bit closer to. So I think we all have different roles."

Detry was a spectator for the last Belgian Open, when Lee Westwood won at Royal Zoute Golf Club.

The 25-year-old hopes young Belgians are as inspired a she was when watching the likes of Westwood and Seve Ballesteros.

He said: “I do have memories of the last event in Belgium. It was on a beautiful golf course and I remember going up there in 1999 and in 2000, so I was pretty small, but I remember going there with my parents to see Westwood, Seve was there too.

"It was fantastic, some amazing memories and I think it’s going to be the same here for all those young golfers in Belgium.

"I’ve been playing golf around Belgium over the last few weeks and everybody is talking about it, everyone’s really excited. 

“The venue is amazing, the golf course is great and we have the weather on our side too so I think it’s going to be a very very good week."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18 -8
2HEATH, JamesENG18 -7
T3DETRY, ThomasBEL18 -6
T3PEREZ, VictorFRA18 -6
T3PAPADATOS, DimitriosAUS18 -6

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