Despite a difficult start at the hundredth edition of the KLM Open, Joost Luiten is satisfied with his game. Thanks to a strong closing of the opening day, he finds himself back in the shared seventeenth place.
The 33-year-old South Hollander started on the 'back nine' of the The International golf course near Amsterdam with three bogeys, so that the winner of 2013 and 2016 had to chase immediately.
"That came as a total surprise to me," says the golfer on his own website. "In the practice rounds I played well and the kicking in went fine. I didn't feel any nerves on the first tee, and afterwards I was perhaps too relaxed."
Luiten acknowledged that he needed some competition excitement and tips from his new caddy Maarten Bosch. "Maarten played an important role. He remained positive and emphasized that I had to attack the flags, not play so carefully. I did that, with six birdies as a result."
Thanks to those six birdies, including three on the first three holes, Luiten managed to turn a potentially disastrous start into a solid opening round. "It was mentally tough, but three under par is an excellent score to start with given the start."
Joost Luiten was grateful to his Maarten Maarten Bosch afterwards. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Luiten touches the spectator with a drop-off
It was a bit of a shock when he hit a spectator on the last of the first nine holes. He produced a drop-off that got a man full against his back.
"That man was still lying on the floor when I arrived at my ball, and then you feel very bad for a moment," Luiten acknowledged. "Fortunately, he was able to get up quite quickly afterwards and the damage was not too bad. That was a great relief for me, because hitting a spectator is really very annoying."
After one day, Luiten is three strokes behind the leader Callum Shinkwin from England. He must also give priority to his compatriots Koen Kouwenaar and Rowin Caron. They went around in 68 strokes, four under par.
The South Hollander will start his second round on Friday afternoon at 1.25 p.m. This is followed by the cut, after which the best golfers compete for the trophy in the weekend.