Sun Sentinel
European Golf Tour
Colsaerts cruises to victory at China Open



Chengdu, China (Sports Network) - Nicolas Colsaerts closed with a six-under 66 Sunday to earn his first European Tour victory at the China Open.

Colsaerts finished his record-breaking win at 24-under-par 264. The previous 72-hole scoring record at this event was 269, which Prayad Marksaeng set in 1996 and Edward Fryatt matched in 1998.

One day earlier, Colsaerts had also set the tournament's 54-hole scoring mark.

"It means a lot. It's fantastic," Colsaerts exclaimed. "I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. It was the easiest because birdies were flying all over the place."

The final round was a day of low scoring at Luxehills International Country Club as 14 of the top 15 on the leaderboard posted rounds in the 60s and just two of the top 42 failed to break par in the final round.

Spain's Pablo Martin made the biggest move on Sunday as he fired a nine-under 63 to grab a share of second place. He was joined at minus-20 by Peter Lawrie (68), Soren Kjeldsen (66) and Danny Lee (65).

Colsaerts birdied the first to push his lead to two strokes. A birdie on the third extended his lead to three.

After a trio of pars, Colsaerts converted a his third birdie in four days at the par-five seventh. He parred four in a row from the eighth and his lead was down to one as Martin was making a charge.

Martin birdied six of the last nine holes, including three of the last four, to get within one of the lead at minus-20.

Colsaerts had the answer though. He birdied the par-three 12th to push his lead back to two over Martin, who was finished, and five over the nearest player still on the course.

The 28-year-old Colsaerts poured in back-to back birdie chances from the 14th to seal the victory.

"I've waited for this moment for a long time. I kept my head straight all the way," said Colsaerts. "I was only nervous the first couple holes yesterday and today, but once you get rolling, there's no need to worry about it."

Martin flew into contention with three straight birdies from the fifth. He dropped a shot on the ninth, but picked up six birdies in the final nine holes to share second place.

"Fantastic, great day. I've never seen so many birdies in one group ever," said Martin, who combined with Christian Nilsson and Danny Willett to post 25 birdies, two bogeys and an eagle in the final round. "I think it must be some sort of record. It was good fun. I put a good score in there."

NOTES: Colsaerts earned 350,946 euros for the win...He joined Phillipe Touissant as the only two Belgians to win on the European Tour...In a week of great scoring, the tournaments' 18-, 36-, 54- and 72-hole scoring record were all set and 73 of the 75 players that made the cut finished under par for the tournament...The European Tour heads to South Korea next week for the Ballantine's Championship, where Marcus Fraser won last year.

04/24 07:12:45 ET