Nicolas Colsaerts equaled the European Tour record of eight birdies in a row Thursday on his way to an opening-round 9-under 63 to take the clubhouse lead at the Italian Open.

The Belgian made a solid start on the back nine, parring his first four holes before five consecutive birdies from the 14th to the 18th saw him make the turn in 31.

Colsaerts, who is ranked 218th, also birdied the next three but failed to break the record as he narrowly missed from 20 feet on the fourth.

The 32-year-old Colsaerts, who is seeking his first win since the World Match Play Championship in 2012, had a two-shot lead over former champion Francesco Molinari and India's Shiv Kapur.

Molinari's last win also came in 2012, in the Spanish Open.