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Colsaerts and Coetzee pass Paris test

Colsaerts and Coetzee pass Paris test

George Coetzee and Nicolas Colsaerts will share the lead heading into the weekend at the Amundi Open de France after Le Golf National bit back on day two in Paris.

Nicolas Colsaerts

The 2018 Ryder Cup venue is one of the most famous and fearsome layouts on the European Tour but day one had brought low scoring, with Coetzee setting the pace with a 65.

Heavy overnight rain and cold and windy conditions changed all that early on day two but Colsaerts took advantage of the favourable afternoon scoring to card a 66 and get to nine under.

South African Coetzee then made six birdies on his back nine to join the big hitting Belgian and sit a shot ahead of American Kurt Kitayama.

Scot Richie Ramsay was at seven under, one clear of Dane Joachim B Hansen.

Colsaerts is a two time winner on the European Tour and was one of the heroes of the Miracle at Medinah when Europe famously came back from 10-6 down to win the Ryder Cup.

That was in 2012, the same year as Colsaerts' last victory and he is currently fighting for his playing privileges at 114th on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.

"It was very good," he said. "It was really hard when we started, the front nine was pretty difficult, it was blowing pretty hard.

"I made a few long putts that kind of gave me momentum into the back nine, which was nice, and then free flowing the rest. I'm pretty happy with the way I ended these first two rounds."

Coetzee turned in 37 as he tumbled down the leaderboard but he fought back for a 68 that handed him a late tee time and the chance to watch the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

"I'm very happy," he said. "The plan was to get a nice, late tee time so I can watch the rugby tomorrow morning.

"It was a tricky day. I think I got the good side of the draw there because the wind died down on the back nine and you can see it started getting a little easier and I made a couple more birdies. It's always nice to kind of build momentum going into the weekend."

Kitayama has claimed two victories in his maiden European Tour campaign but his third place finish at last week's Italian Open was his first top ten since winning the Oman Open in March.

He quickly moved into a share of the lead with a birdie on the tenth but gave the shot back on the 12th before taking advantage of the par five 14th.

A wonderful second from the rough at the third allowed him to set up a two putt birdie from the fringe and another excellent second shot to six feet after missing the fairway at the fifth put him two ahead.

A poor tee shot at the eighth brought a bogey but an up-and-down on the ninth meant Kitayama had six birdies from six on the par fives through 36 holes.

I'm very happy. It's always nice to kind of build momentum going into the weekend - George Coetzee

At that point he had a three shot lead over the rest of the morning wave but with conditions improving throughout the afternoon, Colsaerts made his move.

The 36-year-old birdied the third and fourth and, after a dropped shot on the sixth, he really came to life on the back nine.

A birdie on the tenth followed by a long putt on the 11th had him within one and an incredible 35 foot left to righter on the 13th put him in a share of the lead.

An up-and-down on the par five next edged him ahead and an approach to seven feet on the 15th brought a two shot lead before he found the water on the last for a closing bogey.

Coetzee birdied the tenth but dropped a shot on the 13th before finding the water for a double at the 16th.

He then started his back nine with four straight birdies - the highlight being a stunning tee shot into the par three second - and when he holed from eight feet on the sixth, he was back into a share.

A bogey on the eighth dropped him back again but the 33-year-old bounced back on the par five ninth.

Ramsay started with a double bogey but birdied the second and third before going bogey-bogey.

Gains on the sixth, eighth and ninth saw him get back under par by the turn and further birdies on the 14th and 15th had him within one before he bogeyed the last in a 69.

Hansen carded five birdies and two bogeys in his 68 to sit a shot ahead of local favourite Benjamin Hebert, two time Major winner and 2009 champion Martin Kaymer, Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, and South Africans Brandon Stone and Jaco Van Zyl.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson and France's Victor Perez were at four under, a shot clear of seven players including American Hudson Swafford.

Swafford - making his first appearance in a regular European Tour event - carded the lowest round of the day with a 66 that saw him become the first player ever to make three eagles in a single round at Le Golf National.

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