Nicolas Colsaerts buoyed by Gleneagles opening
JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP, GLENEAGLES - ROUND ONE LEADERBOARD (GB & I unless stated)
- Rumsford (Aus), Borsheim (Nor)
- Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari (Ita), Mark Foster (Eng), Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Thorbjørn Olesen (Den)
- Richie Ramsay, Richard Finch, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel)
- Selected others: :
- -2 Thomas Bjorn (Den), -1 David Lynn, Marc Warren
Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts was happy with the start he made to the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles - an event where a top two finish will give him a Ryder Cup debut next month.
The big-hitting 29-year-old shot a three under par 69 to finish day one in a tie for eighth.
"Exactly the day I wanted - something not very stressful," said Colsaerts.
Australian Brett Rumford and playing partner Knut Borsheim from Norway led the way with rounds of 67.
Scotland's Paul Lawrie and Italy's Francesco Molinari - the two confirmed members of Europe's Ryder Cup team playing this week - England's Mark Foster, Dutchman Maarten Lafeber and Dane Thorbjørn Olesen all carded 68s.
Colsaerts has a good chance of a wild card if necessary, but rightly feels that qualifying for the team automatically would be a "big boost" to his confidence heading into the match in Chicago.
He was playing with one of captain Jose Maria Olazabal's assistants Thomas Bjorn - also this week's defending champion - and the Dane commented: "We all know what Nicolas can do. He is in good form and you can see his confidence is high.
"I'm pleased with what I saw."
Bjorn himself kicked off with a 70, while Colsaerts came back from an early bogey with five birdies in seven holes around the turn.
He was leading at that point, but three-putted the 468-yard seventh - his 15th - after missing from three feet.
England's David Lynn, runner-up in the USPGA Championship a fortnight ago and with an outside chance of a wild card, shot a one under 71.
On Colsaerts' round, Olazabal said: "It's a solid start. He still has work to do and we will see what he does."
He also commented on the absence from the event of Martin Kaymer, who is under threat at 10th in the points table, but opened the door to Colsaerts by taking the week off.
Should the German drop into a position where he too requires a wild card, Olazabal insists he will not hold it against him that he missed the final week of the race.
"It won't count against him," said the Spaniard. "I've always made that clear."
Scotland's Richie Ramsay joined Colsaerts on 69, while compatriots Marc Warren (71), Colin Montgomerie and David Drysdale (both 72) made solid starts.