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Colsaerts rolls back the years for share of lead

 

By Steve Simpson

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts took a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the French Open yesterday with South African George Coetzee, despite finding the water on the final hole of his second round.

The 2012 Ryder Cup winner, who has since slipped to 424th in the world rankings, fired a five-under-par 66 and moved to nine-under for the tournament.

Colsaerts and Coetzee are one shot clear of American Kurt Kitayama.

A run of five birdies in six holes from the start of the back nine helped Colsaerts briefly move into a two-stroke advantage, and although he struck his tee shot at the perilous 18th into the water, he recovered with an excellent approach to limit the damage to a bogey.

"I made a few long putts that kind of gave me momentum into the back nine, which was nice, and then (it was) free-flowing the rest," said the 36-year-old, who is bidding for a first European Tour title since 2012, when he was also a wildcard pick for the Ryder Cup dubbed the 'Miracle at Medinah'.

Coetzee was tied for the lead overnight with New Zealander Ryan Fox, and the World No.289 birdied his final hole, after starting on the back nine, to secure a place in the final pairing with Colsaerts today.

Kitayama defied the cold, breezy conditions by shooting a three-under 68 with five birdies.

Scotland's Richie Ramsay signed for a 69 to sit fourth on seven-under overall.

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