Fabrizio Zanotti (Getty Images)
Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti did his chances of securing his playing rights on The European Tour for next season the world of good with a fine start to the KLM Open.
The 30 year old fired a five under par 65 at Kennemer to share the first round clubhouse lead with Ireland’s Damien McGrane, England’s David Howell and Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal.
After five seasons on The European Tour, Zanotti has slipped to 152nd on The Race to Dubai after failing to register a top-ten finish, and there are just four events after this one for those currently outside the top 110 to keep their cards.
Five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle at the long 12th helped Zanotti’s cause in overcast conditions in the Netherlands a venue he has good memories of.
“A few years ago I played well here, so I like Holland,” sad Zanotti. “Always you have good memories, so you try to remember the good results and good places. Sometimes you get to those places and just play good golf, and that’s the case with me here.
“I like the course a lot. Today the conditions were very good. You have to hit different kinds of shots, so I like it.”
McGrane’s European Tour future had also appeared in doubt until a sixth-place finish in Wales two weeks ago lifted him to 94th in The Race to Dubai, and he continued that good form with five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle.
“I’m delighted, because I played lovely from start to finish,” said the 42 year old. “The course is in fantastic shape, and the weather was somewhat kinder this morning.
“Whenever I dropped a shot I picked it up again pretty quickly, so that was pleasing and kept me moving in the right direction. I also had a nice eagle on the par five 12th, which also pushed me right up there. So all in all it was a very pleasing day, and definitely gives me a nice platform to build on over the next few days.”
Howell, whose main goal this season is to reach the Dubai World Championship having narrowly missed out since the season-ending event switched to the Emirate state where he resides, compiled a bogey-free effort – as did Larrazábal, seeking a first win of the season after posting five top-ten finishes.
Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts made a slow start on his return to Europe with three early bogeys and, although he fought back top level par, an errant tee shot at the ninth, his last, cost The Ryder Cup star a triple bogey seven and left him with a three over 73.