MONZA, Italy (AP) Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts had eight straight birdies and finished with a 9-under 63 on Thursday to take the lead in the Italian Open at Golf Club Milano.
Colsaerts is the 11th player in European Tour history to make eight straight birdies, but he won’t get a share of the record because preferred lies were used in the wet conditions.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari was tied for second at 65 with Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg and India’s Shiv Kapur. Molinari won the event in 2006 at Castello di Tolcinasco
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Colsaerts made a solid start on the back nine, parring his first four holes before five consecutive birdies from the 14th to the 18th saw him make the turn in 31.
Colsaerts, who is ranked 218th, also birdied the next three but then narrowly missed from 20 feet on the fourth.
”It all felt pretty easy to be fair,” Colsaerts said. ”We all know what it’s like when you get on fire and you keep going. I didn’t know how many it was, they were just coming. I stopped (counting) at six and it kept going for a while which was good. … I was waiting for a round like this where everything clicks together.”
The 32-year-old Colsaerts is seeking his first win since the World Match Play Championship in 2012.
Broberg was two under through 13 holes after two bogeys and four birdies but birdied the final five holes to move joint second.
Molinari’s last win also came in 2012, in the Spanish Open.
”It always gives me that extra motivation to play in front of my home crowd,” Molinari said. ”I wish I could do it more often than once a year.”