Thursday, 17 May 2018
Nicolas Colsaerts  (Getty Images)
Nicolas Colsaerts (Getty Images)

Local hero Nicolas Colsaerts delighted the home fans at Rinkven International Golf Club with a bogey-free 68 that left him well placed to make the weekend at the inaugural Belgian Knockout.

The top 64 after 36 holes will advance to the nine-hole stroke play knockout rounds, with the players split into two groups and seeded depending on where they finish on Friday evening.

Colsaerts' impressive opening effort put him in a good position to achieve a high seeding over the weekend as he looks to kick-start a season with a best finish so far of tied-28th.

A pair of top threes in Rolex Series events helped the big-hitter to his best finish in the Rankings since 2012 last term, and he believes this event is the ideal preparation for the first of the eight prestige tournaments at next week's BMW PGA Championship.

"Very happy," he said. "It's good to pull off a round like this, not a lot of mistakes, a couple of great saves off the trees. In control all day.

"I knew that the scoring wasn't going to be that low. It's not an easy course, you can do a lot of mistakes. I had to make sure that I kept focused on what I needed to do on this tight and windy day.

"It's not often you play tree-lined and firm. If it's tree-lined and soft, it's easy, you can just throw darts, it's fine. But when it's a bit dry, we've played a few courses like this. Wentworth can be like that, too. When it gets firm and bouncy you get a bit more often in the trees so you have to take that into account.

"I think it's actually a pretty good warm-up for Wentworth next week. Wentworth is probably like a bigger version of this. This is very old school and tight and you really have to think your way around, play the corners, play the map. So I think it's a pretty good warm-up for next week."

The European Tour is in Belgium for the first time since 2000 and Colsaerts -  the first ever Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup in 2012 - was enjoying the atmosphere.

"It's funny, you see faces that I've known 15 years that I haven't seen for a long while, people that were involved in junior golf when I was playing," he said. 

"It's the first time that we've brought our little three-months old into the country."

Tournament host and fellow Belgian Thomas Pieters has some work to do to make the weekend after a 73 but he also enjoyed his day on home soil.

"I didn't play that bad, I just didn't make anything on the greens," he said. "But seeing all my friends out there made it fun and enjoyable.

"If I just go out there and make a few putts, don't need to make a bunch of them, just a decent score and I should be fine for the weekend."

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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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