'The Dude' of golf in contention at Wentworth

Following the Ryder Cup highs of last year, Belgium golfer Nicolas Colsaerts is taking it steady after long season.

    'The Dude' of golf in contention at Wentworth
    Colsaerts says he shares a connection with Ryder cup teammates who achieved remarkable comeback at Medinah [EPA]

    Nicolas Colsaerts has experienced something of a comedown since helping Europe win the Ryder Cup in September and the big-hitting Belgian is looking for his game to ignite some time soon.

    The 30-year-old, dubbed 'The Dude' by his team mates after making a stylish debut in the biennial event last year, looked typically cool and dapper after moving into contention with a second-round 70 at the PGA Championship.

    Wentworth almost turned into 'Wetworth' on Friday as driving rain, eight-degree Celsius temperatures and 15-mph winds made a mockery of the so-called British summer.

    Colsaerts, though, had a sunny disposition after posting a two-under-par halfway total of 142 to lie four strokes behind Italy's Francesco Molinari, the clubhouse leader.

    "It was very cold today and the course is playing difficult so it all adds up to a pretty good test out there," Colsaerts said in an interview. 

    "I thought I did pretty good. This is one of those weeks when you get yourself into position because everyone will make mistakes and if you can put together a good six or seven holes you can get right up there.

    "It was a very long year last year and it took its toll. I'm still recovering a bit from everything that happened and I can't wait for my season to kick off."

    Colsaerts made a spectacular start to his Ryder Cup career in 2012, reeling off eight birdies and an eagle as he and partner Lee Westwood defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the opening-day fourballs in Illinois.

    The tall Belgian did not quite hit those heights at the European Tour's flagship event on Friday but he was pleased with his display nonetheless.

    "I missed the cut here in 2011 and 2012 probably because I had long weeks leading up to the event," said Colsaerts.

    'Little details'

    He reached the semi-finals of the preceding World Match Play Championship two years ago before scooping first prize 12 months later.

    Colsaerts was eliminated in the quarter-finals of last week's World Match Play in Bulgaria by eventual winner Graeme McDowell. 

    "I got knocked out early in Bulgaria so I've probably come to Wentworth feeling a little more fresh than normal," he said.

    "We all realise we did something extraordinary... and it's a confidence booster to know you were an integral part of a team effort that was that big"

    Nicolas Colsaerts

    "When you add everything up, a few differences here and there can mean a lot against the best players in the world."

    Colsaerts has focused his attention on the U.S. PGA Tour so far this season and has had mixed results, achieving two top-10 finishes and missing the cut four times.

    "In the States the difference between finishing fifth and 30th and 40th is so much less than it is over here," he said.

    "It's all about little details really."

    Eleven members of Europe's 12-man Ryder Cup team have been competing at Wentworth this week and Colsaerts has enjoyed spending time recalling their memorable comeback victory at the Medinah Country Club.

    "It's been pretty cool to see how your relationship can evolve with all those people," he said.

    "You look into their eyes knowing you've got something in common because you've been part of history with them.

    "Every time you see someone there are great big smiles and you don't even really need to say anything.

    "We all realise we did something extraordinary... and it's a confidence booster to know you were an integral part of a team effort that was that big."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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