Ryder Cup stars in contention at Hilversum

9/6/2012 3:01:52 PM
Raphael Jacquelin  (Getty Images)
Raphael Jacquelin (Getty Images)
Fabrizio Zanotti and Raphaël Jacquelin led the way on day one of the KLM Open as two members of Europe’s Ryder Cup Team prospered.

Zanotti, runner-up here two years ago, kept a bogey off his card in a faultless 65 and saw his score matched by Jacquelin, who carded five birdies and an eagle.

Peter Hanson was among a host of players a shot behind the leading pair, while Martin Kaymer, who secured the final automatic qualifying place in José María Olazábal’s side, turned in 32 to be the pick of the afternoon starters.

A bogey at 10 stunted Kaymer’s progress, but he then eagled the 12th and was joined at four under by Graeme Storm.

Zanotti carded 19 birdies in last week’s Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, yet ended the week in a tie for 41st at three under following a host of costly errors.

“To go bogey free on this course was pretty good,” said the Paraguayan.

“I have been playing well and making a lot of birdies, but in the last few weeks I have also made too many mistakes. Today, there were no bogeys and it was more solid so I am happy.”

The highlight of Jacquelin’s round came with an eagle at the 12th, his fourth hole.

He also picked up three shots in as many holes at the start of the front nine before emulating Zanotti by registering a closing birdie.

“I hit the ball well and kept it on the fairway, which is key around here,” Jacquelin, who finished four over in Switzerland last week, reasoned.

“It was a great round. I hit some iron shots very close and for the rest I scrambled, just like I did well last week, even though the rest wasn’t that good then.”

Hanson described his opening round, which saw him share third with Danny Willett, Felipe Aguilar, Craig Lee and Steve Webster, as “steady”.

“I was happy with the way I struck it and I managed to find some putts,” he explained.

The Swede also praised the set-up at Hilversumsche GC, adding: “On the European Tour I would rank this as one of the top three courses. It is perfect this year.

“It is very close to what I grew up on with pine trees, so I feel a little at home here.”

At three under was Paul Casey; he registered five birdies in seven holes from the 18th in a morale-boosting display coming on the back of seven successive missed cuts.