Nicholas Colsaerts ends seven-year drought with emotional French Open win

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Nicholas Colsaerts ends seven-year drought with emotional French Open win

Euro Tour

Nicholas Colsaerts ends seven-year drought with emotional French Open win

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You can bet there was a hell of party at the conclusion of the $1.8 million Amundi French Open, with Nicolas Colsaerts footing the bill.

Colsaerts won’t quibble over the cost. He’s been waiting seven years to celebrate another European Tour win.

The 3- year-old earned his third victory, but first since 2012, when he ran out a one-shot winner at Le Golf National, the 2018 Ryder Cup course. Quite a turn of events for a guy who arrived in Versailles wondering if he’d have a full-time job next year.

SCORES: French Open

The long-hitting Belgian began the week 114th on the Race to Dubai, and in danger of losing his playing privileges for 2020. He has no worries in that department after his closing 1-over-par 72 gave him a 12-under 272 total. He beat Denmark’s Joakim B Hansen by a shot, and George Coetzee of South Africa by two.

The man known on tour as “The Dude” cut an emotional figure after friends sprayed him with champagne to celebrate the victory.

Nicolas Colsaerts poses for with the trophy following the final round of the 2019 French Open at Le Golf National in Paris. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“The French Open is very special for me because I’m French speaking,” said Colsaerts, brushing back tears. “I’ve been coming here for I don’t know how many years.

“It’s been a long road. So many people have supported me over the years and I’m trying not to get too emotional. I went through up and downs for so many years now, and it’s very, very special.”

Colsaerts began the final round with a three-shot lead, and went five ahead early on. However, he trailed Coetzee by two with six holes to play, and then had to take a back seat to Hansen. However, Coetzee triple bogeyed the 15th hole, while Hansen doubled the 17th to clear a victory route for Colsaerts. A birdie at 13th and a chip in eagle at the par-5 14th proved to be the difference even though he double bogeyed the 15th.

“We know that the last four holes are always pretty dramatic and I proved it by hitting it in the water on 15. I don’t know what happened on 17 with JB (Hansen). I was surprised because I thought I was going to be one behind, but then to knock it on 18, which is probably one of the most difficult par-4s on tour, is very satisfying.

“My putter was pretty cold all day, which was the difference from the first three rounds. I knew I kept in contact with the birdie on 13 and then cherry on top on 14 chipping it in. I knew that I had a chance because anything can happen on the last four.”

The popular Belgian was expected to have bagged his third win years ago after winning the 2011 Volvo China Open and the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship. He made his Ryder Cup debut in 2012, when he had eight birdies and an eagle as he and Lee Westwood defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in a four ball match. The closest he’s come to another Ryder Cup is acting as TV commentator for the last few matches.

Colsaerts was 434th on the Official World Golf Ranking before the French Open, a long way from a high of 32nd in May 2012. This win, the best of his career, should move him back inside the top 200.

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