MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - With his reckless nightclubbing days while living “like a roadie” now well behind him, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts has relished his golfing success over the last two years.
The power hitter from Brussels has triumphed twice on the European Tour during that time, made a stunning debut at last year’s Ryder Cup and has flourished in the opening rounds of the elite WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship this week.
Colsaerts thumped in-form American Bill Haas 5&4 in the opening round of the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event and on Friday upset British world number six Justin Rose 4&2 to reach the last 16 at Dove Mountain.
“I played pretty good the last couple of holes and made sure this game wasn’t really going to go too far,” the 30-year-old Belgian told reporters after getting to five-under par after 16 holes.
Colsaerts was delighted to record another victory over Rose, having beaten the Englishman 4&3 in the last 16 of the 2012 European Tour’s Volvo World Match Play Championship which he went on to win.
”I felt pretty confident going out knowing, if I played my game, I would have a fair chance to do the job,“ the Belgian said. ”But then anything can happen.
“When you play somebody of the stature of Justin, it can always go very fast one way or the other.”
Colsaerts, who lost in the opening round at Dove Mountain last year on his debut at the event, took control with three birdies in the first eight holes before sealing victory with a par at the short 16th, where Rose bogeyed.
Nicknamed the ‘Belgian Bomber’ because of his prodigious length off the tee, Colsaerts will face American Matt Kuchar in the third round on Saturday.
“I have much shorter irons into greens than some of the other guys so, if I‘m on, I‘m going to give myself a lot of birdie tries,” the Belgian said. “You want to hole a few and, if that happens, you’re probably going to come out on top.”
While Colsaerts does not regret his years of nightclubbing, he will be forever thankful that he decided to resurrect his promising golf career.
”You just wake up one day and realize that all these guys you played golf with are doing stuff that you should do any given day,“ he said. ”You realize that you’re missing out on stuff, and it takes you a couple of years to come back.
“The last couple of years have been extremely enjoyable,” smiled Colsaerts, who fired a 10-under-par 62 on his ball in his first Ryder Cup match when he and Lee Westwood beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 1 up in the opening fourballs.
Asked what how much of a ‘party boy’ he had been when golf had become a lower priority for him, Colsaerts replied: ”I hung around the clubbing scene back home, and it was a lot of fun.
”I’ve always been into music. It was one of my passions and I lived like a roadie for a couple of years pretty much. You just go hang out in clubs and listen to the DJs because house music was always my thing.
“Back home these clubs all close at like 7:00, 8:00 in the morning. They’re not like over here when they close at 2:00, so you’ve got to push it a bit further.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ian Ransom