Nicolas Colsaerts looking to make up lost time in French Open

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Nicolas Colsaerts looking to make up lost time in French Open

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Nicolas Colsaerts looking to make up lost time in French Open

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Seems hard to believe Nicolas Colsaerts is looking for his first win since 2012. He can achieve that over the next 36 holes of the $1.8 Amundi French Open.

There was a time when many expected the long hitting Belgian to be eating up European Tour wins the way he devours par fives.

The 37-year-old moved into contention with a second round 5-under 66 in testing conditions over Le Golf National near Versailles. The former Ryder Cup player got into the mix with five birdies in six holes from the 10th. He finished the day on 9 under alongside overnight joint leader George Coetzee.

They hold a one-shot lead over former UNLV player Kurt Kitayama.

SCORES: French Open

“I made a few long putts that kind of gave me momentum into the back nine, which was nice, and then free flowing for the rest,” Colsaerts said. “Pretty happy with the way I ended these first two rounds. It’s just like every golf course. If you play the right shots, you can get it close and you can make birdies.”

Colsaerts won the 2011 Volvo China Open and 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship. He parlayed those two wins into a place on the victorious 2012 European Ruder Cup team and finished the season 11th on the European money list. Most pundits expected the powerful Belgian to kick on from there, but seven years later he’s still looking for his third European Tour win. He’s got the power to tame the course that staged last year’s Ryder Cup.

Nicolas Colsaerts tees off on the 16th during Day 2 of the 2019 Open de France at Le Golf National in Paris. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“I think it will depend on the conditions,” Colsaerts said. “It’s not a golf course that you can go and get in attack mode 100 percent of the time. It depends on the tee shots, wind direction and that kind of stuff. You can take a chance and try to take advantage on some of the holes. You have to choose them right I guess.”

Coetzee also recorded five birdies in six holes in 68 to stay in contention.

“Very happy,” Coetzee said. “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 made a couple more birdies.”

The South African double bogeyed the 16th hole, his seventh, but rebounded with those five birdies in six holes.

“I wasn’t too upset with the front nine,” Coetzee added. “I made one bad decision and played the other holes pretty well. It’s always nice to kind of build momentum going into the weekend.”

Kitayama returned a 3-under 68 to stay in touch with the leaders.

“Today was a lot tougher,” said Kitayama, who’s seeking his third win of the 2019 season. “Especially in the morning. It was really cold, and not really sure how far the ball’s flying.

“Just grinding it out and really fighting for a good round. When it’s playing this tough, and you come out with a couple under, it feels really good. Coming into today, I was definitely thinking it was going to be really tough, but it was a lot of fun.”

So close

Gavin Moynihan almost recorded an ace – and almost won a new BMW – during the second round.

On the par 3 4th hole, Moynihan hit just about the perfect shot but the ball dented the side of the cup before bouncing away. Had it gone in, he’d driven off in a new BMW i8 Roadster, a plug-in hybrid. It’s the same car that’s seen in a giant picture right behind the tee box on the hole.

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