Nicolas Colsaerts on verge of ending seven years of frustration

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Nicolas Colsaerts on verge of ending seven years of frustration

Euro Tour

Nicolas Colsaerts on verge of ending seven years of frustration

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Nicolas Colsaerts is on the verge of ending seven years of frustration by winning the $1.8 Amundi French Open.

The long-hitting Belgian takes a three-shot lead into the final round as he seeks his third European Tour win, and first since the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship.

The 37-year-old returned a 4-under 67 at Le Golf National near Versailles to move to 13 under and set himself apart from South Africa’s George Coetzee, with whom he shared the 36-hole lead.

UNLV alum Kurt Kitayama shares third place with Welshman Jamie Donaldson on 9 under.

SCORES: French Open

World number 424 Colsaerts nearly played a flawless round, but bogeyed the 17th for his only dropped shot off the day. He got the stroke right back with a birdie at the 18th and then focused on where he was on the leaderboard.

“Very pleased,” Colsaerts said. “I wasn’t really looking at what the lead was. I mean I kind of knew, but I didn’t really pay much attention.”

Colsaerts has been as high as 32nd on the Official World Golf Ranking, which he achieved in May 2012. That was the same year he made his Ryder Cup debut. He stood out in that match for recording eight birdies and an eagle as he and Lee Westwood defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in four-balls. The Belgian went on that season to finish 11th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He’s been trying to regain that form ever since.

Colsaerts arrived at last year’s Ryder Cup venue ranked 114th on the Race to Dubai and looking like he might have to return to the qualifying school. Whatever happens in the final round, he should earn enough points to move well inside the top 110 who retain cards for next year.

“I have a lot to play for,” he said. “It’s not like winning is at the forefront of my mind. I still have to play shots. I got a little bit eager towards the end but it’s a difficult course to play if you just lose a little bit of focus, which I think if I look at the leaderboard I might do. I made sure I stayed out of it.

“I’m in in control of a lot of things. My (ball) striking, my emotions, for whatever reason, I can’t tell you, it’s not as busy (his mind) as it is in June. My thing is that I can hear French in the crowd so that I have to play with earplugs a little bit. So far it’s been really good.

“Don’t get me wrong, it would be amazing to win this thing but, like I said, if I stay away from thinking that, I think my chances would be a lot better than if I see this thing right in front of me.”

Kitayama is still in with a shout of his third win of the 2019 season. The Chico, California native returned a 1-under par 70 to stay in contention.

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