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Day one digest: 2020 Celtic Classic

Day one digest: 2020 Celtic Classic

Thomas Pieters returned to competitive golf for the first time in five months but showed no signs of rust at The Celtic Manor Resort as he took the first round lead at the 2020 Celtic Classic.

The Belgian recorded eight birdies and just one bogey to card a superb 64 to take a one shot lead into the second round.

Here is everything you need to know from Thursday's play in Newport.

The Celtic Manor Resort

Tommy Fleeters?

Pieters was playing his first event since the coronavirus pandemic but the Belgian did not lose his touch. The 28-year-old became a father for the first time during lockdown to daughter Florence and he donned a longer hairstyle on his competitive return in Wales. But it was the latter that caused a stir, with two-time European Tour winner and commentator Andrew Coltart calling out the similarities to Tommy Fleetwood, dubbing the Belgian "Tommy Fleeters". Speaking about the resemblance, Pieters said: "My mum said the same, my girlfriend says the same and I have just been really lazy. I don’t feel like sitting at the hairdressers for two hours, so I dunno, we will see, if someone wants to cut it go ahead!"

Pieters feeling chippy

The four time European Tour winner definitely showed no ring rust in Newport as he became co-leader thanks to this sublime shot at the 17th hole before moving ahead on his own at the last.

Players pay respect to Gordon J Brand

Players wore a black ribbon during their first round in Newport to honour Gordon J Brand, who died at the age of 65 following a short illness on Tuesday. Brand made more than 450 appearances on the European Tour and 196 appearances on the European Senior Tour – now known as the Staysure Tour - winning six times across the two Tours. He was a popular and respected figure throughout his long career on the European Tour from 1977 to 2003 and he was prolific winner on the Safari Tour during that period, winning seven times, including three victories at the Ivory Coast Open and two at the Nigerian Open, and finished top of the Order of Merit three times.

Nicolas Colsaerts

Paratore's struggles on the 15th

Renato Paratore, winner of the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House Golf Club, proved that even professionals can get in a pickle. The Italian tried to find the green at the driveable par four 15th but found the knee high rough. His first effort only dug its way deeper into the thick stuff before his next went all of two yards. Another attempt saw a clump of grass but not much ball before finally getting onto the greenside rough in six. A chip and a two putt resulted in a nine on the card. We feel your pain Renato!

Renato Paratore

Thomas is Bjørn to walk

The Dane began his four day charity walk on Thursday morning. Europe’s victorious 2018 Ryder Cup Captain was inspired by the fundraising exploits of Sir Tom Moore and will donate funds to Unicef and the Golf Foundation as part of the European Tour's #GolfforGood initiative. Thomas Bjørn will carry the Ryder Cup from the European Tour’s Headquarters at Wentworth Club in Surrey to The Celtic Manor Resort, which will host two consecutive European Tour events as part of the new UK Swing. Bjørn is scheduled to finish 210 kilometre walk on Sunday before he will compete in the second tournament to be held at the Newport venue, the ISPS Handa Wales Open, on the Twenty Ten Course where Europe memorably defeated the United States 14½-13½ ten years ago. Good luck Thomas!

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