Marcel Siem (Getty Images)
Germany’s Marcel Siem will take a slender one shot lead into round three of the Alstom Open de France following a late surge by Alexander Noren at Le Golf National.
Siem, who finished sixth on home soil at last month’s BMW International Open, hit the front courtesy of a second successive 68, which was completed following a mid-afternoon storm that saw play suspended for around 80 minutes.
He was briefly joined by Noren after the Swede recorded birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th to reach five under for his second round.
However, Noren then found water at the last and made bogey to drop back into second, one shot clear of Denmark’s Anders Hansen and South African George Coetzee.
David Lynn, Francesco Molinari and Raphael Jacquelin shared fifth on three under, but World Number Three Lee Westwood - who had reached that mark after ten holes - was back at one over - having taken three penalty drops on his back nine.
Starting on the tenth, Siem birdied the 14th but double bogeyed the 17th before picking up a shot at each of the first, third, fifth and seventh holes to end on six under par.
He said: “If you shoot a few under on the golf course, it doesn't matter what are the conditions, it's a good score. I've shot two times three under now, so I'm very happy and I hope I keep it going like that.”
The 31 year old admitted that the suspension in play came at the right time for him.
“I had just made double bogey before that. Then on 18, would have been my first shot after the lightning. I was a bit steamy there, and actually it was good for me I reckon that we got called off the course,” he added.
“It was nearly flat calm in the end. On the last four holes, there was a little breeze off the left, half a club of wind. It was very comfortable and nice to play and I'm really happy that I made something out of it.”
Noren, who birdied the sixth and 11th prior to his trio of birdies on the way in, was also delighted to be among the later starters on day two.
“It was tough the first nine holes, and then we got really lucky on the back nine,” he said.
“I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and then got a lot of good putts on the back nine coming in, so it was a steady round and I’m really pleased."
Hansen, beginning on the tenth, parred his first five holes before making birdies at 15, 16 and 18 with a sole blemish on his first nine a bogey at 17.
He then made birdie threes at four and six, the latter courtesy of a superb approach from just off the left side of the fairway. However, a bogey four on his penultimate hole saw him drop back.
Hansen said: “I'm very proud of myself to keep doing what I've done, even though there's a few shots that didn't come as I wanted them to, but all in all, I'm still in the learning process of trying to figure this thing out.
“To go out on a course like this with a few new things in the golf swing is not exactly easy. When you get out there, you have to trust what you're doing.”
Westwood, meanwhile, retained a positive outlook despite his troubles on the homeward nine.
“It's that kind of golf course. You don't have to be far off,” he said.
“I would liked to have played a bit better coming in but I'm not out of it.”