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Sky's the limit for Colsaerts after Ryder Cup exploits

(Reuters) - Nicolas Colsaerts, dubbed 'The Dude' by his team mates after making a stylish Ryder Cup debut last month, is still floating on a cloud four weeks after Europe's stunning victory in Chicago.

The beanpole Belgian reeled off eight birdies and an eagle as he and partner Lee Westwood beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker one up in the fourballs session on the opening day of the biennial team event.

Colsaerts was beaten in his three other appearances at the Medinah Country Club but Europe's remarkable fightback after going into the final day 10-6 down has had a lasting impact on the 29-year-old.

"I am still in the clouds - there is not half an hour that passes when I don't think about it," the world number 33 told the tour's official website (www.europeantour.com) as he prepared for this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event in China.

"It's just constant, I can't help it. I suppose the main thoughts that come to mind immediately are winning the point with Lee on the Friday but then it all rushes back - the whole experience was just unbelievable."

His self-belief has soared to such a level since Medinah that the 6ft-1in Colsaerts believes the sky is now the limit as far as his career is concerned.

"The one thing I have noticed since the Ryder Cup is that it has been funny playing events with smaller crowds," said the winner of this year's World Match Play Championship in Spain and the 2011 China Open.

"It feels like you have come from playing in a World Cup final football stadium to a division three game but that has helped me for the good because I am just freewheeling at the moment and the confidence it has given me is pretty cool.

"If you can do it on a stage like that, with the whole world watching, and pull out some of the stuff that I did there is a part of you that feels you can achieve anything," Colsaerts added.

The WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills Country Club in Shenzhen starts on Thursday.

(Writing by Tony Jimenez; Editing by John O'Brien)

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