Dutchman Joost Luiten made a flying start to the ISPS Handa Wales Open, firing a six under par 65 in the first round at The Celtic Manor Resort.
The 28 year old notched seven birdies – the pick of those a 75-foot putt on the 16th green – to lead by one shot from Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who muscled a 447-yard drive down the 18th for the longest tee shot recorded on The European Tour.
Colsaerts took full advantage by making eagle there, and he sits alongside Scotsman Andrew McArthur, who recovered from an early bogey with six birdies.
Home favourite Jamie Donaldson fared best of the four Ryder Cup players, posting a one under par 70, with Thomas Björn shooting 71, Lee Westwood 73 and Stephen Gallacher 78.
Key player quotes:
“I’m very happy. Six under in the opening round is always good. I made some nice putts at the end and it was just a very solid round. I only missed one green and unfortunately made bogey there, at the 17th. The putt on 16 was one of those putts that if you hit a hundred, maybe one goes in. It was a very good putt. It looked in all the way, and sometimes it’s the bonus putts that you need to have.”
“I’m really pleased. It all seemed to come together today. It was downwind on the 18th. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hits it 500 yards there. I actually thought it was too far right, but we were all smiling when we got down there. I think this is probably my furthest drive. I think I might have hit drives that maybe in the air looked longer than this one, but this one just took that speed trap around the fairway and ran all the way down.”
“I didn’t score great but I was there or thereabouts. I hit a lot of shots where I wanted to, and then I hit quite a few shots 20 to 25 feet away. Over the course of the day, I didn’t hit it close enough to make enough putts. So overall, it was a so‑so day, and one under was a pretty fair reflection of how I played.”
“It was basically just rusty. I hit a lot of good putts today that grazed the hole, and a few times I hit what I thought were good drives and the fairways were a bit pinched in in certain places. I haven’t got a lot of experience of playing this golf course, so I hit what I thought were good drives and they didn’t turn out well. This week’s all about just getting competitive again. Obviously I would have liked to have shot better than two over par, but there were signs of good golf in there.”
“I’ve played a lot of golf, so it’s probably natural to have a dip. That’s natural after an intense period. I just need to focus on the swing and focus on keeping my tempo and doing the right things on the golf course.”
Round 1 scores:
65 J Luiten (Ned) ,
66 A McArthur (Sco) , N Colsaerts (Bel) ,
67 S Walker (Eng) , J Walters (RSA) , R Rock (Eng) ,
68 R Santos (Por) , T Jaidee (Tha) , E Pepperell (Eng) , S Webster (Eng) , T Fleetwood (Eng) , C Lee (Sco) , D Brooks (Eng) , S Lowry (Irl) , S Wakefield (Eng) , J McLeary (Sco) ,
69 J Hansen (Den) , J Carlsson (Swe) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , A Wall (Eng) , M Foster (Eng) , P Sjöland (Swe) , N Fasth (Swe) , R Ramsay (Sco) , O Fisher (Eng) , G Havret (Fra) , R Wattel (Fra) ,
70 R Fisher (Eng) , D Howell (Eng) , T Nørret (Den) , J Donaldson (Wal) , N Holman (Aus) , J Hahn (USA) , M Grönberg (Swe) , S Kim (Kor) , A Otaegui (Esp) , M Warren (Sco) , D Gaunt (Eng) , D Im (USA) , E Grillo (Arg) , M Baldwin (Eng) , W Ormsby (Aus) , P Casey (Eng) ,
71 B Rumford (Aus) , F Molinari (Ita) , B Dredge (Wal) , J Morrison (Eng) , T Björn (Den) , P Price (Wal) , S Jamieson (Sco) , P Archer (Eng) , K Broberg (Swe) , T Olesen (Den) , M Korhonen (Fin) , B Wiesberger (Aut) , S Khan (Eng) , D McGrane (Irl) , S Benson (Eng) , N Elvira (Esp) , P Uihlein (USA) , R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) , R Karlsson (Swe) , S Thornton (Irl) , G Storm (Eng) , E Goya (Arg) , L Bjerregaard (Den) , M Kieffer (Ger) , G Bhullar (Ind) , D Boote (am) (Wal) ,
72 L Zhiqun (Sin) , J Singh (Ind) , D Lynn (Eng) , D Willett (Eng) , T Pieters (Bel) , S Hansen (Den) , G Hutcheon (Sco) , M Nixon (Eng) , A Gee (Eng) , V Riu (Fra) , H Miyase (Jpn) , A Kaleka (Fra) , A Pavan (Ita) , E Molinari (Ita) , P Lawrie (Sco) ,
73 E Dubois (Fra) , J Parry (Eng) , R Bland (Eng) , A Hartø (Den) , J Kingston (RSA) , L Westwood (Eng) , A Saddier (Fra) , T Lewis (Eng) , R Derksen (Ned) , K Phelan (Irl) , P Lawrie (Irl) , P Whiteford (Sco) , N Dougherty (Eng) , D Drysdale (Sco) , R Kakko (Fin) , D Huizing (Ned) , L Slattery (Eng) , C Wood (Eng) , M Hearne (am) (Wal) ,
74 A Quiros (Esp) , R Gonzalez (Arg) , H Otto (RSA) , D Fichardt (RSA) , F Calmels (Fra) , J Heath (Eng) , J Doherty (Sco) , R Finch (Eng) , J Quesne (Fra) , L Bond (Wal) , A Sullivan (Eng) , J Campillo (Esp) , F Andersson Hed (Swe) , M Cort (Eng) , M Hoey (Nir) , G Bourdy (Fra) ,
75 P Larrazábal (Esp) , B Paolini (USA) , E De La Riva (Esp) , M Lundberg (Swe) , J Lima (Por) ,
76 C Del Moral (Esp) , L Rooke (Wal) , P Waring (Eng) , J Ferguson (Eng) , S Manley (Wal) , R Jacquelin (Fra) , M Carlsson (Swe) ,
77 T Hatton (Eng) , G Maybin (Nir) , M Crespi (Ita) ,
78 D Higgins (Irl) , J Jeong (Kor) , M Madsen (Den) , S Gallacher (Sco) , E Griffith (am) (Wal) ,
79 J Knutzon (USA) ,
80 A Forsyth (Sco) ,
81 T Innes Ker (Sco) ,
82 J Olazábal (Esp) ,
** R Karlberg (Swe) , C Doak (Sco) ,
Source: European Tour