Jan
19
2012
When He’s Good, He’s Very Very Good; When He’s Bad, He’s Belgian
By Conor Nagle under European PGA Tour

WTF: Colsaerts made seven birdies on Fancourt's back nine.

Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts has established a commanding, four-shot lead after the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt in South Africa.

The prodigiously gifted 29-year-old, whose decade-long struggle to establish himself on the European Tour came to an end at last season’s Volvo China Open, carded a scarcely believable round of 64, nine-under-par, to open up a four-shot lead over in-form South African Branden Grace, his compatriot Thomas Aiken and English Walker Cup hero Tom Lewis.

Both Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen are among a quartet of players a shot further adrift.

An imperious ball-striker capable of overwhelming the most demanding of layouts, Colsaerts’ form typically hinges on his putting, which can be described, somewhat euphemistically, as “streaky”.

It’s a charge that could also be levelled at two of this week’s home favourites, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, both of whom recorded encouraging if unspectacular opening rounds of 71 and 72, respectively.

Conor Nagle