Colsaerts on song in Italy

9/19/2013 12:33:00 PM
Nicolas Colsaerts  (Getty Images)
Nicolas Colsaerts (Getty Images)
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts raced into a share of the early clubhouse lead on the opening day of the 70° Open d’Italia Lindt in Turin.

The big-hitting Ryder Cup star was among the early starters and took full advantage with a seven under par round of 65 to set the tempo alongside Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and German Maximilian Kieffer.

After a bogey on the tenth hole - his first – Colsaerts recorded a remarkable run of six straight birdies.

He gained another shot at the 18th, before a steady back nine which featured eight straight pars and a birdie at the last.

Colsaerts had to withdraw from last week’s KLM Open with flu, but believes some tender loving care at home has done him good.

“Nothing beats a couple of days at home with your Mum looking after you,” he said. “I was sitting on a sofa watching the golf and I was quite happy.

“When the weather’s like this it is a very nice place, it’s a nice park it’s a nice golf course – you’ve got the mountains just over the back.

“I got on a roll early and got pretty low under par. I got a bit sloppy on the front nine and I was just a bit too far away from flags to shoot ten under or something.”

Gonzalez has missed three cuts in a row since finishing as runner-up at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, but looked in fine form as he fired six birdies, one bogey and an eagle at the 12th.

“I hit it perfect, I only missed two shots from the tee,” said Gonzalez. “Then I hit fairways, hit greens, made some good putts and that’s why I shot 65.

“I tried to relax the last two or three weeks but I played with little tension. On Tuesday’s practice I said ‘come on, relax’ and it worked.

“I’m feeling very good and we’ll see what happens over the next three days.”

Kieffer had a 25 foot putt for the outright lead at the last, but had to settle for a par to conclude his eight birdie, one bogey round.

It continued an impressive rookie European Tour campaign for the 23 year old, who currently sits 77th in The Race to Dubai and could force his way into the top 60 and Dubai World Championship with a good finish this week.

Colsaerts was not the only one of the leaders to have been laid low recently, with Kieffer also suffering the effects of a cold in the tournament build-up.

He said: “I’m very happy, 65 is a very good score. I didn’t feel so good coming here because I wasn’t hitting it that well the last few weeks and I’ve had a cold.

“I wasn’t really expecting a lot and I just took it shot for shot. Mentally it’s nice to shoot a good score, you always feel better when you’re playing well and have a good score so hopefully I’ll have another three good rounds.”

Australian Marcus Fraser was a shot behind in fourth after a 66, with England’s Steve Webster on five under.

Local favourite Francesco Molinari made a good start with a 68, while another Italian star – Matteo Manassero – was among the afternoon starters.