Colsaerts Leads in Rainy Ireland

By Sports NetworkMay 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Nissan Irish OpenMAYNOOTH, Ireland -- Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium posted a 5-under 67 on Friday to lead during the second round of the Nissan Irish Open. He stands at 4-under-par 140 and is one ahead as play was suspended at The Montgomerie Course at Carton House Golf Club.
The first round was completed Friday morning after a six-hour wind delay pushed the tournament back. A little more than half of the field finished the second round, but the remaining golfers will be back on the course at 2:30 a.m. EDT. The 36-hole cut will be made and the third round will begin shortly after the cut is made.
Christian Cevaer (71), Ian Poulter (70) and Anthony Wall (68) are tied for second place at 3-under-par 141. Peter Hedblom (70), Robert Karlsson (68), Jarrod Lyle (70) and Tom Whitehouse (69) are knotted in fifth place at minus-2.
Colsaerts polished off a 1-over 73 on Friday morning, then began his second round on the back nine. He wasted little time in breaking into red figures as he knocked a wedge to 6 feet at the 10th to set up birdie.
He parred his next two holes, then reached the green with his drive at the 338-yard, par-4 13th. Colsaerts two-putted for birdie, and made it two in a row with a tap-in 2-footer at the 14th.
At the par-5 18th, Colsaerts, who is 147th on the current European Tour Order of Merit, found the green with a 3-iron for his second shot. He two-putted for a birdie to make the turn at 4-under 32.
The Belgian parred his first five holes on the second nine, then collected his first back-nine birdie at the sixth. Colsaerts hit a wedge to 6 feet to set up his fifth birdie of the round.
Colsaerts found some trouble at the par-5 eighth. He landed in a bunker and eventually left himself with 5 feet for par. Colsaerts two-putted for his lone bogey of the round.
At the par-4 ninth, Colsaerts pulled a 3-wood out of the bag and the decision paid off for the 23-year-old. He left himself with a gap-wedge into the green and hit it to 5 feet. Colsaerts converted the birdie try to grab the lead by himself.
'It feels really good because I played really well,' said Colsaerts, who has yet to visit the winner's circle on the European Tour. 'I actually felt like I left a couple out there, so it could have been a truly excellent round. Sixty-seven is pretty good because the course is not easy, though it played a little easier than yesterday.'
Colsaerts has handled the stoppages and long days pretty well, considering he has the lead in the middle of the second round.
'I don't think it is that bad a deal for me because I played well this morning when I came back so it wasn't hard for me to carry on and play as many holes as I could,' said Colsaerts. 'The weather was nice today. It was still blowing a little bit but, it is a lot nicer than yesterday.'
Angel Cabrera (68), Paul Casey (70), Ricardo Gonzalez (72), Raphael Jacquelin (70), Steven Jeppesen (71), Peter Lawrie (68) and 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie (68) are in the clubhouse tied for ninth at 1-under-par 143.
David Dixon and Iain Pyman are 1 under par for the championship through 16 holes of round two.
Thomas Bjorn matched the course record on Friday with a second-round, 6-under-par 66. He is tied for 18th place at even-par 144.
Darren Clarke (70) and reigning U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell (73) are part of a group tied for 27th at plus-1.
'It's been tough with all the waiting around and bad weather, but I'm far better than this time last year when I missed the cut,' said Campbell.
Defending champion Stephen Dodd (74) and course designer Colin Montgomerie (72) are part of a group currently one shot outside the cut line at 5-over-par 149.
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