Joost Luiten leads in Wales at Celtic Manor

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Joost Luiten shot an opening round of 65 to take an early lead in the ISPS Handa Wales Open at the Celtic Manor.

The Dutchman holds a one shot lead over Scotland's Andrew McArthur and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.

Mammoth drive

Colsaerts shot a mammoth drive of almost 450 yards on the 18th hole and is in hot pursuit of the leader.

The tournament will be the final event before the start of next week's Ryder Cup and four of the European team members were in action.

Jamie Donaldson, who will be making his Ryder Cup debut, was the only member of Europe's team to shoot under par as he carded a one-under 70. Thomas Bjorn shot a level par, Lee Westwood recorded a 73 while Stephen Gallagher hit a disappointing 78 as he failed to make a birdie during his round.

Key role

Colsaerts played a key role in Europe's stunning comeback victory in the last Ryder Cup at Medinah two years ago when he carded eight birdies and an eagle during his fourball win with Westwood.

The 31 year-old admitted that he was slightly jealous after seeing the four members of the Ryder Cup team with captain Paul McGinley on Wednesday night.

"I saw them having dinner and thought 'I wish I was in that room'," said the Belgian.

"It's their adventure and I am not part of it, but once you play in one Ryder Cup, you don't want to miss another one."

Colsaerts didn't begin his round too strongly and was on one-over par after seven holes. But an eagle on the 18th when his huge drive left him with a straight forward wedge into the green to complete the 575-yard hole in three shots.

Colsaerts was pleased with his drive admitting that the wind and slight hill had a part to play in the distance of his drive.

"I thought it was too far right but it's all downhill and downwind and it must have luged down the fairway," Colsaerts added. "If all the stars align you can hit it a long way."

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Gallacher was competing in his first event since the Italian Open when he narrowly missed out on an automatic Ryder Cup spot by just one shot.


However the Scot, who lives just 35 miles from Gleneagles, was selected as one of McGinley's captain picks and described the preparations as "manic".

The 39-year admits that his focus is on next week and believes that is the reason he had a disappointing opening round.

"I did half expect it," he said.

"Generally if I've got something to play for I'll play pretty well. When I go through the motions I'm useless.

"All eyes are on next week and it's hard to put it out of my mind when I'm already in. Once you're in it, I just want it happen, you know? Next week it'll be different, you're in a heightened mood and I'll be better.

"One swallow doesn't make a summer, (so I'm) not really bothered to be honest. I'll just go out tomorrow and try and make a few birdies, see what happens. I'll give it my best shot, I shot 63 around here once (in 2010)."

Gallacher's playing partner and Ryder Cup team mate Bjorn birdied two of his last four holes to finish his round strongly.

No reason to worry

Bjorn doesn't see any reason to worry about Gallacher's opening round ahead of next week's battle with the U.S.

"I wouldn't be worried by what he did today. He's had a couple of weeks off and, being Scottish and everything, he's so much looking forward to it.

"He was fractionally rusty today and a couple of shots here and there cost him. That's the way it is, he'll get back on his feet. There is enough good stuff in there for him not to worry."


Westwood also showed signs of rustiness as he hasn't played since failing to advance past the first FedEx-Cup play-off event.

Westwood hopes he can use the three remaining rounds to find some form ahead of the next week.

He said: "I was basically just rusty. I hit a lot of good putts today that missed, grazed the hole a lot and a few times I hit what I thought were good drives and the fairways were a bit pinched in and they didn't turn out good.

"This week's all about just getting competitive again really. Obviously I would have liked to have shot better than two over par but there were signs of good golf in there.

"Play well tomorrow hopefully and get another couple of rounds over the week. I do play better after I've played a bit. That's why I try and play the week before a major championship. I like to be competitive. It's serving its purpose this week."

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