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Record round gives Colsaerts Volvo lead

Nicolas Colsaerts
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Nicolas Colsaerts made his 2012 European Tour debut with the round of his life, shooting a course record 9-under 64 on the Links at Fancourt to take a four-shot lead after the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa.

“I think I shot 8 or 9 (under) in Indonesia somewhere, but the course is not as tough as this one,” the Belgian said after his round.

Video: Round 1 highlights from the Volvo Golf Champions

Colsaerts leads last week’s winner Branden Grace, Thomas Aiken and Tom Lewis, who all carded 68s.

Taking advantage of receptive greens and minimal winds at Fancourt, Colsaerts bettered the previous course record, shot by Patrick O’Brien in the  2006 South African Open, by three shots.

“I think the conditions of the course today, I'm not saying it's easier, but it's the only way you can shoot a low number like this,” Calsaerts said.

Colsaerts made birdie on nine of his final 11 holes and didn’t drop a shot. He also birdied all four par-3 holes on the day.

“I don't think I ever did (that before). That's something you don't really see that often on a tour card,” he said regarding his four 2s.

Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen are among four players trailing Colsaerts in joint fifth on 4 under. Harrington double bogeyed the par-5 18th. Colin Montgomerie is another shot behind, tied 11th, while Ernie Els, Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal and Thomas Bjorn are on 2 under. Open champion Darren Clarke is 1 over par.

Charl Schwartzel continues to struggle after missing the cut last week as two-time defending champion of the Joburg Open. His 75 leaves him 11 off the lead and T-28 in the 35-player field.