Colsaerts narrowly misses out on 59

Nicolas Colsaerts came to within inches of the European Tour’s first ever 59 on the opening day of the Portugal Masters.

The Belgian had a 20-foot putt for birdie slip agonisingly past the left-hand lip of the 18th hole to miss out on the magical score by a single stroke.

Nevertheless, an opening 11-under-par 60 has put him firmly in control at Vilamoura in Portugal, where play was suspended early due to heavy rain, leaving a number of players needing to return on Friday morning to complete their first rounds.

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Frenchman Alexander Levy both reached the clubhouse safely with 63s to lie three strokes off Colsaerts’ lead, while Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello also completed his round, a seven-under 64, to lie alone in fourth.

Cabrera-Bello’s countryman Adrian Otaegui also reached seven under, but still had four holes to complete when play was called off.

The day belonged to Colsaerts, however, who would have seen a 59 as a genuine possibility after following seven birdies with eagles at the 15th and 17th.

He delivered a typical booming drive right down the middle of the 18th fairway as well, but his iron approach wasn’t quite as pinpoint as he would have hoped and the 20-footer didn’t quite drop.

Still, he’ll no doubt be satisfied with taking a three-shot lead into Friday’s second round.

“When I made eagle on 15, I knew then that if I birdied the last three, that would have been 59,” Colsaerts told the European Tour website.

“So I parred 16 and then walking down the fairway on 16, I tell Brian after I hit a good drive, I was like, ‘It’s 59 or nothing’.”

On the drama at the final hole, he added: “Hit a good drive. It’s too bad it (the putt) just shaves the edge.

“I thought it was going to be slightly left to right at the end and it kind of went straight and basically just left it hanging. Too bad, I thought it was a pretty good effort, especially with these dark clouds that we saw at the back. It’s a great setting.”

Second-placed Jamieson, meanwhile, was pleased with his start and credited a new putter with his improved showing.

“It’s a similar style putter, something different to look at,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve been playing really well for the last three months. I had a few top tens a couple months back, and hopefully, this will be the week that I can sort of capitalise on it because I feel tee to green, everything’s been very good.”