Colsaerts moves to the front

European Tour

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium has fired a 66 that will take him into the final round of the Volvo China Open with a one-stroke lead.

Nicolas Colsaerts has fired a 66 that will take him into the final round of the Volvo China Open in Chengdu with a one-stroke lead.

The Belgium master blaster, the European Tour’s longest hitter last year, and second youngest player ever to come through The European Tour Qualifying School when he graduated on his 18th birthday in 2000, birdied the final hole to inch one shot ahead of 19-year-old Korean prospect Chang-won Han in his pursuit of a first Tour title.

Han, a former Asian Amateur champion, in turn is a stroke in front of Peter Lawrie and Frenchman Gregory Havret, who both shot 68s, while halfway leader Jamie Donaldson is at 15-under after a round of 70.

But Colsaerts is in the man in charge right now following a round launched explosively with an eagle at the opening hole on a day when he was able to use his power to play the four par fives in 5-under.

“An eagle on the first was the best start I could have hoped for,”said the World Number 175. “I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I hit driver over the river and tried to give myself the shortest line in.

“I holed from 25 feet and it was the best start. On 18 I probably hit the best drive of the day.

“I hit it good and my caddy said it went 380 yards. That was a bonus because it is a bit of a daunting second shot to go over the water, it is difficult, especially when you get towards the end of the day.

“I hit a seven iron onto the green and two putted, so I’m quite happy to finish like that and make four.

“The wind changed the course dramatically today. You had to think more about certain tee shots.

“The other days you could pretty much go at every pin and the ball would stop where it landed. With these greens you always want to be on the right side but it was harder today with them being dry.”

Colsaerts said he had been looking for a win “for a couple of years” but that he had put himself in contention a few times and I knew that if he didn’t win In Jakarta on Sunday, a win would come quite soon.

“I was a bit itchy today but managed alight and hope tomorrow I’ll manage the same.”

Han led after day one when he opened with a 64, but although a second round 70 dropped him out of the top ten, he hit back on Saturday by birdying five of his first seven holes en route to a best-of-the-day 65.

The 19 year old, playing only his second event as a professional, was delighted with his performance

“I played perfectly today,” he said. “I some good shots and good putts.

“I took confidence from my putting today. When I missed shots I made the putts, that helped my round.

“This is the best I have played as a professional. I have some experience of big tournaments from when I was an amateur and that experience is helping me now. I’m not nervous – I believe in myself.”

Han made his move by reaching the turn in 31 after picking up five birdies on the first seven holes.

He cooled off on the back nine, picking up two more shots at the 10th and 16th, but it was enough to set the early clubhouse lead.

Overnight leader Donaldson had a disappointing day after storming through the field with an 11-under-par 61 on Friday.

The Welshman was level par through 14 holes but kept himself in contention with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16 and dropping no more shots.

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