European Tour, 19 October 2019: Nicolas Colsaerts will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Amundi Open de France after a Saturday round of 67 took him to 13 under par at Le Golf National.
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.
South Africa’s George Coetzee’s round of 70 took him to ten under par, as he kept within touching distance of the lead despite a double bogey on the 13th, which had followed a monster putt for birdie on the previous hole.
Jamie Donaldson is another Ryder Cup star battling to keep his card and he celebrated his birthday by recording a 66 to sit one shot further back at nine-under-par alongside America’s Kurt Kitayama, who is seeking a third win of his rookie season on the European Tour.
Dane Joachim B Hansen carded a remarkable 69 as he overcame a quintuple bogey nine on the 13th to get to eight under par alongside Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan and Scot Richie Ramsay.
Benjamin Hebert remains the leading French player at seven under par after rounds of 66-71-69, alongside German Major winner Martin Kaymer and South African Brandon Stone.
Nicolas Colsaerts: “I’m a bit on a mission. I have a lot to play for. It’s not like actually winning this tournament is at the forefront of my mind. I still have to play shots. It got a little bit easier at the end but it’s a difficult course to play. If you just lose a little bit of focus, which I think if I looked at the leaderboard and everything, I might do.
“I’m in control of a lot of things, my striking, my emotions, for whatever reason I can’t tell you. It would be amazing to win this thing. But like I said, if I stay away from thinking that, I think my chances will be a lot higher than if I see this thing right in front of me.”
George Coetzee: “I was hoping it would continue but came to an abrupt halt on 13. Kind of the way I’ve been playing this week. It’s either hot off the blocks, or just hold on until you find something, and when you find something, just try and keep it.
“You’d think the putt on 12 was the best putt I hit today, but the putt on 13 for bogey was probably the best putt I hit today. Because if I had not hit a good putt, I might have left myself a tester for about a double, probably would have been a triple. I’m reasonably happy getting out of that hole with a double. I guess I’ll have to play really good golf tomorrow.”
Jamie Donaldson: “I played nicely most of the way. Very happy, being my birthday and all. You don’t really try to remember your birthday when you get to 40-plus, but yeah, a memorable day on my birthday.
“Just keep playing the way I’ve been playing the last three days, which is being aggressive. I’ve got a game plan, but I need to be pushing on to try to win the tournament.”