Greatest debut in Ryder Cup history
Nicolas Colsaerts produced arguably the greatest debut performance in Ryder Cup history as he and Lee Westwood claimed a vital blue point in the afternoon fourballs.
The first Belgian to compete in The Ryder Cup was simply inspired as he rolled in a staggering eight birdies and an eagle at Medinah Country Club. Faced with such a barrage, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker did well to take the match to the last but ultimately it was Europe who prevailed to only trail the US by two points at the end of the first day.
Colsaerts was rested for the morning foursomes, but tore out of the blocks in the afternoon as putt after putt dropped into the centre of the hole. Indeed, his shortest putt was the one for eagle on the tenth as it seemed anything from 15 feet or more found the bottom of the cup.
“I don't think there has ever been a better debut than that,” said his partner.
“It was a pleasure to watch. It was one of those amazing days. He'll look back on that and smile.
“I had the best seat in the house for the whole thing. I don't know what he did this morning that set him off, but I've got to find it tomorrow.”
“You never know how people are going to react in their first round at Ryder Cup and how they are going to react to The Ryder Cup,” he continued. “And I think he took to it quite nicely!”
Woods described is a one of the greatest putting rounds he had ever seen. “There weren't too many putts that he missed, and most of them were 15 feet and out. It was an awfully impressive day.”
Colsaerts was certainly all smiles as he recounted his day. “It felt wonderful to be able to produce and deliver on such a big stage with a lot of eyes on you and this unbelievable atmosphere.”
Asked if it was the best round of his life, he replied: “Under the circumstances, without a doubt. This has to be the best round I ever played in front of such a big stage and with everything about it - the 11 other guys I'm playing with, vital point, last game of the day, first day of Ryder Cup, my first Ryder Cup, yeah, it has to be the best one.”
As the top three matches all went the way of the Stars and Stripes, it was down to Westwood, playing his eighth Ryder Cup, and Colsaerts to prevent a clean sweep in the afternoon session. And as the match edged towards its climax both teams stepped up to the plate. Colsaerts and Westwood carved out a two hole lead with three to play but Woods hit back with a stunning birdie on the 16th before hitting his tee shot on the treacherous par three 17th to four feet. Step forward Colsaerts once again as he rattled home a 25 foot birdie on the penultimate hole to carry a precious one hole advantage up the last.
“It was my first uncontrolled reaction,” said Colsaerts of his putt. “This is what this tournament is about, when you make stuff like I did on 17. Everything comes out of your veins and eyes, and it's pretty special.”
Still Woods had a chance to level the match but his birdie putt from 12 feet on the last touched the edge of the hole and stayed out.
“It's a massive point,” said Westwood. “If we would have lost the day three and a half to a half, it would have been difficult to come back. We've still got our backs against the wall, but two down after the first day, it could have been worse.”