Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts missed the first 59 ever on the European Tour by mere inches Thursday at the Portugal Masters, “settling for a 60 to lead the field by three strokes after one round.
Colsaerts’ 18-foot birdie putt on No. 18 just missed the lip of the cup, leaving the tour without a score in the 50s again, continuing a 42-year trend.
Colsaerts’ 60 is the 19th in tour history. Ranked 85th in the Race to Dubai standings, the Belgian could definitely use a big weekend. His 11-under gives him a two-stroke lead on Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and France’s Alexander Levy.
A 59 wasn’t really on the radar for Colsaerts until the last four holes. He was 3-under through eight holes, then ran off four straight birdies between 9 and 12 to get to 7-under.
Things got really serious when he hit an eagle 2 on the 424-yard No. 15, and followed it up with an eagle 3 on the 589-yard No. 17.
For a long while it looked like Colsaerts would have to shoot a 59 just to keep the lead away from Jamieson, who was 4-under at the turn and hit five more birdies between 11 and 16 to reach 9-under. A bogey 6 on No. 17 finally cooled his jets a bit. Jamieson is ironically one spot ahead of Colsaerts in the current Race to Dubai standings at 84th.
France’s Levy shot a bogey-free round, was 5-under at the turn and could solidify a high spot in the Race to Dubai with a strong finish at Portugal, he’s currently 28th in the standings.
Heavy rains kept a number of players – some 43 of the 126-man field – from finishing their rounds.
Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello is currently fourth at 7-under, as is countryman Adrian Otaegui, who had to halt on No. 14 thanks to the weather.
With four holes to go in his first round, Otageui could be considerably higher in the standings by the time his second round starts later on Friday.
Four players are in the clubhouse at 6-under, while a fifth, France’s Victor Riu, is at the mark with three holes to play.