Turin, Italy – Nicolas Colsaerts, Maximilian Kieffer and Ricardo Gonzalez fired matching 7-under-par 65s on Thursday to grab a share the lead through the opening round of the Italian Open.
Colsaerts, who withdrew from last week's KLM Open with the flu, birdied six straight during his loop at Golf Club Torino.
"Nothing beats a couple of days at home with your Mum looking after you," said the European Ryder Cup star. "I was sitting on a sofa watching the golf and I was quite happy."
Marcus Fraser shot 6-under 66 to take fourth place, while Steve Webster and David Higgins carded matching 67s to share fifth place.
Local favorite and 2006 champion Francesco Molinari, ranked 47th in the world, is tied for seventh at 4-under 68.
Colsaerts went out with the morning wave off the 10th tee and stumbled to a bogey at his first. From there the 30-year-old promptly recovered, reeling off six straight birdies from the 11th and adding another at the 18th to turn in a dazzling 30.
Around the turn Colsaerts was steady, as he parred eight straight before notching a birdie at his last to hit the clubhouse at 7-under.
"I got on a roll early and got pretty low under par," he said. "I got a bit sloppy on the front nine and I was just a bit too far away from flags to shoot 10-under or something."
Kieffer, a European Tour rookie, countered his lone bogey with eight birdies. He had a 25-foot putt for the outright lead at the last, but missed it and settled for par and a share of the top spot.
"I'm very happy, 65 is a very good score," he said. "I didn't feel so good coming here because I wasn't hitting it that well the last few weeks and I've had a cold.
"I wasn't really expecting a lot and I just took it shot for shot. Mentally it's nice to shoot a good score, you always feel better when you're playing well and have a good score so hopefully I'll have another three good rounds."
Gonzalez had missed three straight cuts after a runner-up finish at the Johnnie Walker Championship, but he opened nicely on Thursday, mixing an eagle with six birdies and a bogey.
"I hit it perfect, I only missed two shots from the tee," he said. "Then I hit fairways, hit greens, made some good putts and that's why I shot 65."
NOTES: Colsaerts is a two-time European Tour winner ... Another local favorite, Matteo Manassero, who is the highest ranked player in the field at world No. 31, shot 2-under 70 in the opening round. He is tied for 24th place ... Defending champion Gonzalo Fdez-Castano shot 71 to share 44th.