10/31 03:37 CDT Colsaerts builds 1-shot lead at BMW Masters
Colsaerts builds 1-shot lead at BMW Masters
AP Golf Writer
SHANGHAI (AP) --- Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium made nine birdies on a soft Lake
Malaren course Friday for an 8-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead over
Alexander Levy of France going into the weekend of the BMW Masters.
It was the latest step for Colsaerts regaining some form after going 75
tournaments worldwide since his last victory in 2012 at the World Match Play
Championship. One of the longest hitters in the game, Colsaerts has been
hitting it relatively straight at Lake Malaren, which is a dangerous
He again took advantage of the par 5s, making birdie on all four of them.
Colsaerts is 9 under on the par 5s this week.
Colsaerts was at 14-under 130.
Levy quickly expanded on his first-round lead with three birdies in the opening
four holes. He made two more birdies in the middle of the back nine to try to
keep pace with Colsaerts and wound up with a 66.
"I kept on hitting good drives, which for me here is a big bonus because it's
pretty soft," Colsaerts said. "If I keep it out in the short stuff, I'm going
to have a lot of shorter clubs in than lots of the other guys, so I can see
this course a bit more takeable than the others."
Levy already has twice this year, including the Volvo China Open. His most
recent win was in Portugal this month in an event shortened to 36 holes by
rain. He beat Colsaerts, who had opened with a 60 and couldn't hold off the
Romain Wattel of France had a 67 and was three shots behind. Branden Grace of
South Africa (66) was among three players at 10-under 140.
Overnight rain soaked Lake Malaren, and the players caught a break when heavy
rain in the forecast never materialized. Instead there was an overcast sky,
soft fairways and slow greens. It was long enough that Colsaerts had to hit
fairway metal into some of the par 5s, though he still had no trouble reaching
"I was actually surprised at how well I've managed them, because for somebody
that hits it as long as me, I don't really think my stats on the par 5s are as
good as they should be," Colsaerts said. "There's probably guys that hit it a
lot shorter and have a much better scoring average on par 5s. ... I'm quite
happy with the way the par 5s have been going because I've been going pretty
low on them."
Colsaerts returned to the Ryder Cup, but only to do TV. His world ranking has
slipped all the way to No. 142, though he has shown signs the last month. Along
with his runner-up finish in Portugal, he tied for fourth in the Wales Open.
"I felt like I've been in the zone a couple of times lately, and it doesn't
really happen in such a short period of time like this," he said. "So it's
pretty nice when you can get it going like this. I've been playing quite well
for the last couple of months."
Thomas Bjorn hasn't played at all since the Ryder Cup. His neck had been
bothered him even at Gleneagles, though he didn't let on and made it through
the week. He was supposed to play the World Match Play and couldn't get out of
bed for three days.
He wasn't expecting much at the BMW Masters, though he wasn't expecting a start
like this. Bjorn missed a short putt on the opening hole to make bogey, and
then took a triple-bogey 8 on the third hole. Just like that, he was back to
even par for the tournament. The rest of the round was a blur. Bjorn closed out
the front nine with three straight birdies, and then birdied his last two holes
for a 67.
He was at 9-under 135, five shots behind.
"You have days like that where all of a sudden, it just all starts going your
way," Bjorn said. "And that was my day today. I would like to play the first
Graeme McDowell got careless with two shots on the back nine that led to
bogeys, giving him a 69 and putting him six shots behind along with Shane Lowry
(66) and Jamie Donaldson (68). Ernie Els and Justin Rose were another shot