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Colsaerts blasts opening 64 in Volvo Champions event

updated 2:31 PM EST, Thu January 19, 2012
Nicolas Colsaerts holds the eighth-largest opening round lead in European Tour history.
Nicolas Colsaerts holds the eighth-largest opening round lead in European Tour history.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nicolas Colsaerts holds a four-shot lead in the Volvo Champions tournament
  • The 29-year-old Belgian cards a course record nine-under-par 64 in South Africa
  • Joburg Open winner Branden Grace among three players sharing second place
  • The 35-player tournament is open only to players who have won on European Tour

(CNN) -- Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts fired a remarkable nine birdies in his last 11 holes to card a course record 64 in the opening round of the Volvo Champions tournament at Fancourt, South Africa.

The 29-year-old, who won his first European Tour event in last year's China Open, holds a four-stroke lead after his impressive nine-under-par round in benign conditions.

England's Tom Lewis and South African pair Thomas Aiken and Branden Grace -- the winner of last week's Joburg Open -- lead the chasing pack, with former British Open champions Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen among a group of four players a further stroke behind in the 35-player event only open to European Tour winners.

"This is probably the best round I've ever had -- it's quite a serious test of golf," Colsaerts, who vies with Alviro Quiros of Spain as the longest hitters in Europe," told the European Tour website.

This is probably the best round I've ever had -- it's quite a serious test of golf
Nicolas Colsaerts

"I can reach most of the par-fives in two so it's quite a bonus when you get to birdie the par-threes," he added.

Grace, who only qualified for the tournament after winning last week, told reporters: "I missed a couple of short ones but I kept hitting the ball well and giving myself chances. It will be nice to see how I can follow it up."

Home favorite Ernie Els dropped two shots on the first three holes but birdies on the final three holes saw him finish on two-under 71.

Colsaerts' opening lead is the eighth-largest advantage after 18 holes in the history of the European Tour.

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