Nicolas Colsaerts came within a whisker of shooting the first 59 in European Tour history in the first round of the Portugal Masters, and admitted afterwards it was strange to feel disappointed with an 11 under par round of 60.
That superb score, which featured two eagles, seven birdies and nine pars, gave the Belgian a three-shot lead on the first day at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course on Portugal’s Algarve, where heavy rain caused play to be abandoned. The first round will restart at 08.15 on Friday, with 16 groups still to finish.
Colsaerts managed to finish his round shortly before the late-afternoon deluge, and after eagles at the 15th and 17th holes he needed to birdie the par four 18th to create history. All went to plan when he boomed a drive down the fairway and pitched to within 18 feet, but his putt was left hanging on the edge of the cup.
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who also had a 60 in the third round of this tournament last year, was in second place after an eight under par 63, alongside Frenchman Alexander Levy. Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello signed for a 64, and his compatriot Adrian Otaegui was also on the seven under par mark but with four holes left to play.
Defending champion David Lynn opened with a six under par 65, while Paul McGinley, Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup captain, was delighted with 67.
“When I made eagle on 15, I knew that if I birdied the last three it would be a 59. I parred 16 and then walking down the fairway on 17, after I hit a good drive, I said to my caddie ‘it’s 59 or nothing’. I managed to make eagle there and then hit a good drive on the 18th. I thought the putt was going to be slightly left to right but it went straight and was basically left hanging. Too bad, because I thought it was a pretty good effort.
“I told myself over a couple of putts, especially the one for eagle on 15, to just try to switch off and trust what you’ve seen and what you feel. I’ve always felt pretty comfortable on this golf course. I’ve played well but it’s never clicked for me. It did today, though, and hopefully I can keep this frame of mind over the next few days.”
“I got off to a great start and was five under par through seven holes on the back nine. I fancied my chances of getting on 17 in two but unfortunately it went in the water. It must be a record the number of times the brollies went up and down during the round today. But when the conditions are like that it sometimes helps you not let your mind wander. You don’t have the opportunity to think too far ahead.
“I’ve changed my putter and I holed a few more putts today. It’s a similar style putter, but it’s something different. I feel like I’ve been playing really well for the last three months. Hopefully this will be the week that I can capitalise on it because tee to green everything’s been very good.”
Source: European Tour