Fisher enjoys solid Ryder Cup warm-up in the Netherlands
HILVERSUM, Netherlands (Reuters) - European Ryder Cup rookie Ross Fisher made an excellent start in the Dutch Open first round on Thursday.
The Briton's five-under-par 65 left him in fourth place, three strokes behind leader Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.
European captain Colin Montgomerie will also be heartened by solid performances from two other Cup rookies at the Hilversumsche course.
German Martin Kaymer produced a 67 in his first competitive round since winning the U.S. PGA Championship and Italian Francesco Molinari a 68.
With just over three weeks before Europe take on the Americans at Celtic Manor, Montgomerie has already seen two of his players, Miguel-Angel Jimenez and Edoardo Molinari, finish first and second in the European Masters.
Fisher has his British coach Denis Pugh, also teacher to Molinari brothers Edoardo and Francesco, with him to try to keep his swing in the groove.
"It's a final opportunity for me to play some competitive rounds tuning up my golf for the Ryder Cup," Fisher told reporters. "But Celtic Manor is still three weeks away and I've got world ranking and Race to Dubai (money list) points to think about.
"This course seems to fit my eye and from five under I'm hoping to move forward."
Kaymer is expecting even better things.
"A guy shot eight-under today and if I can improve my long game I can too," the young German said.
The guy in question, leader Colsaerts, lit the blue touch paper by picking up five birdies in the last six holes for his 62 to hold a two-stroke lead over India's Shiv Kapur and Briton Kenneth Ferrie.
Ferrie partnered Colsaerts in the three-ball of the day, with the third man in the group, Briton Nick Dougherty, returning a 65.
"We pushed each other along," Colsaerts, yet to win despite regular leaderboard visits, told reporters. "I got on a roll because a good friend has been helping me with my putting. I was confident with the putter today for the first time in a few weeks."
Colsaerts was denied the course record due to preferred-lies.
(Writing by Norman Dabell, Editing by Ed Osmond)