Colsaerts sets new scoring record in first career win at Volvo China Open

nicolas colsaerts
Getty Images
Nicolas Colsaerts carded a 72-hole total of 24-under 264 to beat the old tournament record by a whopping five strokes.
By
PA Sport and Associated Press

Series:

Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011 | 11:46 a.m.

Nicolas Colsaerts set a tournament record at the Volvo China Open on Sunday, finishing at 24 under to win by four shots over a group of four players.

The Belgian, who regained his European Tour card only last year, made six birdies in a 6-under 66 to total 264 and beat the old mark by five strokes.

2011 VOLVO CHINA OPEN

This year's China Open is the first to be played in Sichuan Province, and features four major champions.

Pablo Martin of Spain (63), Peter Lawrie of Ireland (68), Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark (66) and Danny Lee of New Zealand (65) were next at Luxehills International Country Club in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Prayad Marksaeng in 1996 and Ed Fryatt in 1998 both totaled 19 under to win the tournament.

Sweden's Christian Nilsson finished a shot further back in sixth, with Englishman Danny Willett and Jamie Donaldson of Wales sat alongside Gregory Havret in a trio of players on 18 under.

Colsaerts has been consistent throughout the week and held a one-shot lead over Han Chang-won heading into the final day. And the 28-year-old maintained that form Sunday, with six birdies and a flawless round taking him clear of the chasing pack.

Colsaerts becomes only the second Belgian to win a European Tour title, following in the footsteps of Phillipe Touissant 37 years ago. Colsaerts admits it has been a difficult journey on the way to claiming his first European trophy, but worth all the ups and downs during his 10 years on the tour.

"I'm enjoying every second of it," he said. "I'm dizzy -- my head is going all over the place. I've been waiting for this for a very long time and I think I did it in the best of manners so I'm really delighted.

"A lot of people were expecting big things of me and for me to win tournaments a long time before,” he explained. "I lost my card, I got on tour pretty young and I didn't know how to handle myself. The lowest point was 2008 and I had to get my life back together.

"I was doing basically every wrong thing you could possibly think of. One day I woke up, though -- I went to Australia for four months and it changed me forever,” he said. "It's been a hell of a journey looking back, from when I was 18 and got on tour. I didn't really have any idea of the level and how high you had to raise your game to play on Tour.

"I never lost faith of getting to where I am and I'm glad I did it this way."

Spaniard Martin, a former college star at Oklahoma State, also impressed as he raced up the leaderboard to claim his share of second place, holing 10 birdies and dropping just one shot on the ninth.

Lee of New Zealand hit seven birdies on the final day, while Lawrie of Ireland and Dane Kjeldsen picked up four and seven shots, respectively.

South Korean rookie Han, who had been in contention since day one and held the overnight lead heading into the second round, fell off the pace, paying the price for a double bogey on the par-4 eighth and another dropped shot on the last hole.