BELGIAN Ryder Cup hopeful Nicolas Colsaerts signalled his determination to snatch the last automatic qualifying place on the European team by making a strong start to the Johnnie Walker Championship yesterday.
Colsaerts, who needs to finish in the top two at Gleneagles to swipe the spot from Martin Kaymer, shot a 69 to finish the first round three under par – two shots behind the joint leaders Brett Rumford and Knut Borsheim.
The 29-year-old is aiming to make history by becoming the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup, which takes place at Medinah Country Club, Chicago, next month.
He said: “I am very happy as I was in control of my game and this is the start that I wanted without too much stress. The only thing I can do is to make sure of what I do and not worry about the others.”
European Ryder Cup Team
■ Nine men have already booked their places in the European team: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Peter Hanson and Sergio Garcia
■ Germany’s Martin Kaymer currently occupies the 10th automatic qualifying spot, but will be overtaken by Nicolas Closaerts if the Belgian finishes first or second at the Johnnie Walker Championship
■ Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal will complete his 12-man team by naming two wildcard picks on Monday. Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington and Closaerts are among the leading contenders