Big back nine gives Luiten lead at Wales Open|
City of Newport, Wales (SportsNetwork.com) - Joost Luiten surged up the
leaderboard on the back nine Thursday to take the outright lead after one
round of the Wales Open.
Luiten, who has not won on tour since winning twice last year at the Lyoness
Open and the KLM Open, finished the first day at 6-under-par 65, one shot
ahead of Nicolas Colsaerts and Andrew McArthur. Luiten is a three-time winner
on the European Tour.
Colsaerts held the lead when the morning wave was completed before McArthur
joined him at 5-under 66 later in the day at The Celtic Manor Resort.
Justin Walters, Robert Rock and Sam Walker shot matching 4-under 67s, tying
them for fourth after one round, while 10 players share seventh at minus-3.
Defending champion Gregory Bourdy stumbled to a 3-over 74 on Thursday and he
is tied for 104th with 15 others.
Luiten was very quiet at the start of his round as he rattled off eight
straight pars from the first. He broke through with his first birdie of the
day on No. 9 and Luiten made the turn at minus-1.
The back nine is where Luiten made his charge. After a par on the 10th, Luiten
poured in back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12 to get to 3-under. Another par on
the par-3 13th preceded three straight gains from No. 14 and Luiten had the
lead at minus-6.
Luiten fell back into a tie for first with Colsaerts at minus-5 after a bogey
on the 17th, but Luiten's seventh birdie at the par-5 18th put him back
into the lead at the end of one round.
Luiten finished tied for fifth at last week's KLM Open, where he was
attempting to repeat as champion.
"It's nice and quiet this week here," said Luiten. "My game felt good last
week and I played good again today. Hopefully can keep it going for three
more. Fifth place was good, but of course you want more. Every player wants
more. Fifth place in your own event is good and you take that form to this
week, and I just felt very, very good out there."
Colsaerts, beginning his day on the back nine, started with four straight pars
before dropping a shot on the par-4 14th. He got that shot back with a birdie
on No. 16, but another bogey at the 17th had Colsaerts over par again.
The momentum shifted for Colsaerts when he bombed a 447-yard drive on the
par-5 18th, leading to an eagle and getting him into red numbers for the first
"I thought it was too far right, but it's all downhill and downwind and it
must have luged down the fairway," Colsaerts said about his mammoth drive. "If
all the stars align, you can hit it a long way."
Colsaerts drained back-to-back birdies on one and two as he made the turn,
putting him at 3-under. Two more gains on five and seven were followed by two
pars to close Colsaerts' round at 5-under, one shot back of the lead.
McArthur bogeyed his second hole of the day, but he was strong from there.
McArthur responded with a pair of birdies from three and four to go along with
another one at the seventh. After making the turn with three pars at eight,
nine and 10, McArthur drained birdies on 11, 12 and 15 to join Colsaerts in
NOTES: Luiten's other victory came at the 2011 Johor Open ... Colsaerts' 447-
yard drive on No. 18 was the longest drive in European Tour history ... The
only player to shoot a bogey-free round on Thursday was Eddie Pepperell (3-
under 68), who surrounded 16 pars with a birdie at the sixth and an eagle at
the last ... Colsaerts has won twice on the European Tour ... McArthur has yet
to earn a victory on tour.
09/18 15:06:18 ET