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Colsaerts powers ahead in Paris

Colsaerts powers ahead in Paris

Nicolas Colsaerts will take a three shot lead into the final round of the Amundi Open de France as he seeks a first European Tour win in seven years at Le Golf National.

Nicolas Colsaerts

The big hitting Belgian claimed the last of his two European Tour titles in 2012, the same season he was part of the famous Miracle at Medinah as Europe came back from 10-4 down to win the Ryder Cup.

He has had three second places since then and has finished inside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex every season, but is currently 114th and battling to keep his playing privileges.

A victory on Sunday would take care of all that and after rounds of 67-66-67 in Paris, he led the way at 13 under from South Africa's George Coetzee.

Jamie Donaldson is another Ryder Cup star battling to keep his card and he recorded a 66 to sit at nine under alongside America's Kurt Kitayama - who is seeking a third win of his debut campaign.

Dane Joachim B Hansen carded a remarkable 69 as he overcame a quintuple bogey nine on the 13th to get to eight under alongside Ireland's Gavin Moynihan and Scot Richie Ramsay.

Colsaerts has just one top ten from 26 appearances so far on the 2019 Race to Dubai but is determined to keep his focus and continue to peak at a crucial time.

"It would be amazing to win this thing but if I stay away from thinking that I think my chances will a lot higher than if I see this thing in front of me," he said.

"I'm on a mission, I have a lot to play for and it's not like actually winning this tournament is at the forefront of my mind, you still have to play shots."

Starting in a share of top spot, Coetzee dropped a shot on the second to leave Colsaerts in the solo lead but the 36-year-old soon had company again as Kitayama made a two putt birdie on the par five third.

Colsaerts holed from 12 feet at the fifth to edge himself in front but Kitayama followed him in from around a third of that distance to also get into double figures.

Coetzee made a smart par save on the fifth and then holed from 12 feet on the sixth to get back level for the day.

That hole was proving gettable and Colsaerts made a birdie of his own from five feet to once again get his nose in front.

Coetzee birdied the tenth and holed a long putt at the 11th to share the lead but Colsaerts followed him in from 13 feet.

A monster putt from Coetzee made it a hat-trick of birdies and again he was in a share but again it was not for long, as Colsaerts put his approach to tap-in range.

While the leading pair were blazing a trail, the field were sliding back and Colsaerts found himself four shots clear of Donaldson in third.

The Welshman - celebrating his 44th birthday - birdied the second and third, put an approach to close range on the sixth and rolled a left to righter up the hill on the next to turn in 32.

A stunning approach to the tenth then left him a very short putt for birdie but he three putted the 13th before getting up and down from the sand for a gain at the par five next.

He soon found himself just one shot behind Coetzee as the four time European Tour winner went left off the tee at the 13th before going right with his second and hitting a tree with his third en route to a double bogey.

Colsaerts' advantage was cut to two after he found a nasty lie off the tee on the 17th but a 15 footer on the last had him back at 13 under.

Kitayama also birdied the 18th thanks to a stunning second to close range after dropping shots on the 11th and 12th.

Hansen went in the water twice on the 13th but responded with four birdies in a row to sit alongside Moynihan who carded a 68 and Ramsay who signed for a 70.

Home favourite Benjamin Hebert, 2009 champion Martin Kaymer and South African Brandon Stone were six shots off the lead.

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