Perseverance Pays Off for Nicolas Colsaerts

When I think of Belgium I think of beer.. or Brel... but I don't generally think of professional golfers.

In fact the last time a Belgian won on the European Tour was almost three decades ago when Phillipe Toussaint edged out Bob Shearer in a sudden death playoff at the Benson & Hedges Festival of Golf in 1974.

However, for the past ten years there's been a young man striving to put the Kingdom of Belgium back onto the top of the leaderboard, and yesterday he succeeded, with his breakthrough victory at the Volvo China Open.

His name is Nicolas Colsaerts, but they call him the "Belgian Bomber" because of his prodigious power game. The 29 year-old is a big hitter.  Really big. Longest-drive-on-the-European-Tour big.
I know... you probably thought that honor belonged to Alvaro Quiros... so did I... but it actually belongs to the Belgian, and on Saturday at Luxehills International Country Club he demonstrated it at the 18th hole, a 600-yard par five. Colsaerts hit driver then seven-iron and hit the green in two.  Then two-putted for a birdie and a 66 on the day.  That after a 65-67 in rounds one and two. With a final round 66 he took the title, four strokes clear of Soren Kjeldsen, Peter Lawrie, Pablo Martin and Danny Lee in a four way tie.

Though he's not yet 30 it's been a long and circuitous route for Nicolas Colsaerts who's visited Qualifying School four times since he first made it onto the European tour in 2000. He now finds himself at 10th in the Race to Dubai and at 107 in the world rankings.

With his power game, years of experience... and now, this breakthrough win... we'll most likely be hearing more about Nicolas Colsaerts, which might just inspire me to buy a couple of six packs of Duvel and get some Jacques Brel onto my iPod. As if I needed an excuse for that.

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images AsiaPac