Coetzee and Colsaerts lead Open de France

By Sports Desk October 18, 2019

George Coetzee and Nicolas Colsaerts share the lead at the halfway mark of the Open de France after capitalising on improved afternoon conditions at Le Golf National.

Coetzee and Ryan Fox were joint-leaders after the first round in Paris and the South African will head into the weekend nine under par after carding a three-under 68.

Colsaerts, battling to keep his European Tour card, joined Coetzee out in front with a five-under 66 as Fox slipped back to three under after a three-over 74.

Morning starters had to contend with cold and wind following overnight rain, but the weather improved later in the day and Coetzee took advantage by making six birdies on his back nine.

The four-time European Tour champion hit the turn in 37 after starting at the 10th but came into his own with four gains in a row and finished with a seventh birdie of the day after dropping a shot at the eighth.

Colsaerts also made his move after the turn, conjuring up five birdies in six holes to lead the way and the big-hitting Belgian would have been out on his own but for a second bogey at 18.

The in-form Kurt Kitayama is well poised to improve on a third-place finish at the Italian Open after he went around in 68 to sit just a shot off the lead.

Richie Ramsay is a further stroke back, while defending champion Alex Noren made the cut despite a second successive 72.

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    He said he had been toiling "all of yesterday with kidney stones and this morning was very uncomfortable".

    "You could see me walking slower and doing everything a little slower out there," he added.

    "All of yesterday was very uncomfortable – I spent a bit of time in the hospital in Rustenburg.

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    Oosthuizen has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four outings at the Gary Player Country Club, which stages this event.

    The 2010 Open champion is also looking to add to his victory last December at the South African Open and he opened up a healthy lead on day one.

    Italy's Guido Migliozzi held down third place after a five-under 67, one ahead of South Africans Ernie Els and Zander Lombard and England's Lee Westwood.

    Four-time major winner Els, at 50, rolled back the years with four birdies and no bogeys.

    "I didn't quite expect that. I haven't played too much golf recently," Els told the European Tour website. "I really came here with a plan to try and get a swing going, which I kind of did.

    "I just went on memory, going around the golf course where I used to hit the ball. Today was a good day."

    Tommy Fleetwood, whose ball was meddled with by mongooses on the 17th green, was one of 10 players to sign for a 69, leaving him three under.

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