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‘It's great to play golf again’ – Nicolas Colsaerts relishing return to action after battling rare kidney disease

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Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium in the pro-am ahead of the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium in the pro-am ahead of the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium in the pro-am ahead of the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales

Nicolas Colsaerts could not have been happier to be standing on the practice range at 7am in the rain.

That is because this week's Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor is just the former Ryder Cup star's fifth tournament of the season after he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease late last year.

"I'm feeling great, I'm really really happy to be here," said Colsaerts, who made eight birdies and an eagle in his first Ryder Cup match at Medinah in 2012, a foursomes win with Lee Westwood over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

"It's great to see everyone, it's great to play golf again. I was on the range at seven o'clock in the morning yesterday (Tuesday) in the drizzle and I was the happiest man on earth.

"I was in a pretty dark place in November, not really knowing where I was heading. And being looked after the way I was with the people from AVIV in Dubai has been really incredible, not only from a medical point of view but also from a personal point of view to get me back on my feet and able to do come and do again what I used do on a regular basis."

Colsaerts has fond memories of this week's venue after finishing fourth in the 2014 Wales Open, with his 447-yard drive on the downhill 18th during the first round commemorated by a plaque on the par five.

"It's pretty cool to have a plaque on a golf course," Colsaerts added.

"I can only think of a few like Ben Hogan (at Merion), (Miguel Angel) Jimenez at Valderrama, Bobby Jones at Lytham and I have my own on a Ryder Cup golf course as well, which is quite cool.

"I've always liked this place, we came here and played the European Amateur back in 2000 so I have a bit of a history here and it was one of the reasons why I decided for this week to my first event back.

"It's a place I'm familiar with, a golf course I like. You stay on site in a nice hotel and the weather is great, believe it or not."

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Italy's Filippo Celli is also in the field at Celtic Manor, three weeks after winning the silver medal as the leading amateur in the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.

"I will stay amateur until the end of the year and I will enjoy this opportunity," Celli said.

"It's the first time that I've played here and I like it so much. It's parkland but with a lot of wind. I think it's a really tough course and you have to strike the ball really well."


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