Joost Luiten (pictured by Getty Images) made the ideal start to his bid for back-to-back KLM Open victories, firing a five under par opening round of 65 at Kennemer Golf and Country Club to establish a one shot clubhouse lead before fading light stopped play.
Luiten is bidding to become the first Dutchman to defend a European Tour title, having defeated Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez in a play-off 12 months ago.
After starting on the tenth tee, the 28 year old birdied the 18th hole, but dropped his only shot of the day on the first immediately after making the turn. He made amends with a birdie on the third hole and then picked up four shots in three holes, with an eagle on the seventh hole sandwiched in between birdies on the sixth and eighth holes.
The eagle on the seventh came courtesy of a superb 216 yard four iron approach to 15ft, and helped Luiten on his way back to the top of the leaderboard, as he finished one stroke clear of Italian pair Edoardo Molinari and Andrea Pavan, and France’s Gary Stal who share second place on four under par. Scotland’s Jamie McLeary was five under par for his round through 16 holes when fading light stopped play.
Play had been suspended for two hours and 20 minutes while Fabrizio Zanotti received treatment for a head injury sustained when he was struck by a ball. The first round will resume at 8am on Friday morning.
Key player quotes
“It is always nice to shoot a 65. I played well and didn’t make any mistakes. That’s the key on this course, keep the ball in play and take your chances. For me it was a good solid round and I hit some nice spots.
“I wasn’t playing bad on the front nine, but just not hitting it that close. Then a couple of holes on that stretch of five, six, seven are scoring holes and I took advantage. I thought if I made a couple of birdies it would be a nice round and the eagle on seven was a bonus. It was one of those putts that can go in or just stay on the edge. So that was a bonus to see it go in for eagle. Then I hit it stiff on eight and all of a sudden you are five under for the round.
It’s the first day so you just stay patient and don’t make big mistakes and your chances will come. And they did.”
“It was a really good round especially as I wasn’t hitting the ball well off the tee. I chipped well and had a lot of good iron shots. So I need to work on my driving and then I should be alright.
“I always seem to manage to get a shot into the green and hit a lot of greens so overall four under is a good start.”
“It is my first visit here and I like the course. It is a good course and you need to play good to score good. I like the vision of the course and I like the greens. I’ve played a few courses like this in England so I like this golf.
“My form has been ok and I felt good coming into this week. I’m feeling my game is more consistent. It has been up and down but I’m feeling better about my game.”
Leading clubhouse scores from the KLM Open (round one to be completed on Friday) Par 70
65 J Luiten (Ned) ,
66 A Pavan (Ita) , G Stal (Fra) , E Molinari (Ita) ,
67 E Goya (Arg) , A Sullivan (Eng) , D Im (USA) , M Kieffer (Ger) , T Aiken (RSA) ,
68 D Foos (Ger) , M Warren (Sco) , P Larrazábal (Esp) , P Casey (Eng) , M Manassero (Ita) ,
69 C Doak (Sco) , J Doherty (Sco) , R Karlsson (Swe) , R Ramsay (Sco) , B Koepka (USA) , V Riu (Fra) , D Fichardt (RSA) , A Gee (Eng) , P Waring (Eng) , C Lee (Sco) , E Pepperell (Eng) , M Ilonen (Fin) ,
70 G Bhullar (Ind) , R Bland (Eng) , D Stewart (Sco) , W Ormsby (Aus) , J Blixt (Swe) , S Lowry (Irl) , S Dyson (Eng) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , A Forsyth (Sco) , T Pieters (Bel) , M Baldwin (Eng) , N Fasth (Swe) , J Carlsson (Swe) , J Quesne (Fra) , P Whiteford (Sco) , P Harrington (Irl) ,
71 M Madsen (Den) , J Hahn (USA) , R Jacquelin (Fra) , R Derksen (Ned) , M Lampert (Ger) , M Jiménez (Esp) , G Fdez-Castaño (Esp) , M Crespi (Ita) , T Björn (Den) , M Nixon (Eng) , J Parry (Eng) , D McGrane (Irl) , N Elvira (Esp) , C Del Moral (Esp) , J Krietemeijer (am) (Ned) ,
72 C Arendell (USA) , R Santos (Por) , A Otaegui (Esp) , K Broberg (Swe) , E Grillo (Arg) , L Slattery (Eng) , D Horsey (Eng) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , A Kaleka (Fra) , R Kind (Ned) , B An (Kor) ,
73 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , J Billing (Swe) , M Lundberg (Swe) , L Bjerregaard (Den) , J Kruger (RSA) , R Rock (Eng) , G Storm (Eng) , J Morrison (Eng) , F Andersson Hed (Swe) , E De La Riva (Esp) , D Drysdale (Sco) , D Clarke (Nir) , D Van Driel (am) (Ned) ,
74 F Calmels (Fra) , D Lipsky (USA) , V Van Veen (am) (Ned) ,
75 R Fisher (Eng) , A Hartø (Den) , T Remkes (Ned) , D Brooks (Eng) , S Wakefield (Eng) , D Lynn (Eng),
76 J Lara (Esp) , S Strüver (Ger) ,
77 J Dantorp (Swe) , J Kingston (RSA) , H Otto (RSA) , S Prins (am) (Ned) ,
78 S Walker (Eng) ,
82 A Saddier (Fra) ,
** F Zanotti (Par) , F Aguilar (Chi) , R Gonzalez (Arg) , T Levet (Fra) ,
Source: European Tour