Sunday 17 December 2017

Ireland's Damien McGrane is in command at KLM Open

Damien McGrane of Ireland
Damien McGrane of Ireland

Ireland's Damien McGrane is in command at the KLM Open at Kennemer Golf Club in Zandvoort.

He shares the lead with England's David Howell, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti. He shot an opening round of 65

Nicolas Colsaerts suffered a rollercoaster opening round as he returned to action following a four-week break in the KLM Open at Kennemer Golf Club in Zandvoort.

Belgian Colsaerts was hoping the combination of time off and a 'home' tournament in Holland could kickstart his bid for a second Ryder Cup appearance following his debut in last year's 'Miracle at Medinah'.

The 30-year-old was born in Brussels but has been playing in the KLM Open - also known as the Dutch Open - since he was a teenager and the course is just two and a half hours' drive from his home in Rixensart.

However, after recovering from three bogeys in his first seven holes to get back to level par, Colsaerts ran up a triple-bogey seven on his final hole to card a disappointing 73 and lie eight shots off the clubhouse lead shared by Ireland's Damien McGrane, England's David Howell, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.

Starting from the 10th, Colsaerts bogeyed his opening hole and also dropped shots at the 14th and 16th to be out in 37 on the par-70 composite layout, but bounced back with birdies at the third, fourth and sixth.

All the good work was undone on the ninth however, where he was forced to hack out onto the fairway after a wayward drive and then took a penalty drop when his approach to the green found an unplayable lie in heavy rough.

At the other end of the leaderboard, McGrane had covered the front nine in 33 and reached six under thanks to an eagle on the par-five 12th and birdie on the 15th, but bogeyed the 17th when he three-putted from just short of the green.

In contrast former world number six Howell was inches away from winning a BMW for a hole-in-one on the 17th, the tap-in birdie his fifth of the day in a flawless 65.

Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley carded a two-under-par 68 to finish alongside Irish Open winner Paul Casey, while home favourite Joost Luiten was a shot behind after a 69 and BMW PGA Championship winner Matteo Manassero carded a 70.

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