Zanotti takes French Open lead; Hansen stumbles

Fabrizio Zanotti (file photo)

Fabrizio Zanotti (file photo)

Fabrizio Zanotti returned a second consecutive round of 3-under 68 Friday at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France, to take a one-stroke lead at the French Open. Meanwhile, first-round leader Anders Hansen tumbled down the leaderboard with a second-round 78. Hansen had opened wth 66.

Zanotti, of Paraguay, made four birdies and a bogey for a 6-under total of 136. His resume includes three career runner-up finishes, and he was 40th at last year’s French Open.

“On a course like this, I think that you have to accept everything,” Zanotti said. “It’s playing very tough and the greens are getting hard, so it’s going to be very hard. Like I said, keep patient and have fun. There is no other way, I think.”

The Albatross course of Le Golf National will host the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Richard Sterne (69) of South Africa and Danish pair Thomas Bjorn (69) and Soren Kjeldsen (68) were a shot back in a tie for second. Bjorn might have had the outright lead but for bogeys on his final two holes.

Graeme McDowell (69) of Northern Ireland, Stephen Gallacher (70) of Scotland and English duo Simon Dyson (68) and Graeme Storm (68) are two shots off the pace.

McDowell has missed the cut in the three previous tournaments in which he has played.

“It’s been a rough couple months for me,” McDowell said. “Not really been playing the kind of golf I’d like to play, and the key this week was to come and try to get myself in the mix for the weekend and get some of the juices flowing again.”

Information from The Associated Press used in this report

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