Nicolas Colsaerts wins French Open to end seven-year title drought

Press Association Sport 20:33 20/10/2019
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Former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts ended a seven-year winless run on the European Tour with a dramatic one-shot victory at the Amundi Open de France on Sunday.

The Belgian had last triumphed at the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship, four months before he was part of the European team that famously came back from 10-4 down to lift the Ryder Cup in the Miracle at Medinah.

His stock had fallen so far in the intervening years that he arrived at Le Golf National – the scene of another European Ryder Cup victory in 2018 – battling to keep his place on tour for 2020 after just one top-10 finish on the 2019 Race to Dubai.

He carded a closing one-over-par 72 on day four in Paris but that was enough to move him to 12 under and hold off the challenge of Dane Joachim B Hansen.

He started the day with a three-shot lead over South African George Coetzee and looked to be cruising to victory when he extended that to five after a birdie on the first.

But the demons that have led to him fighting for his playing privileges resurfaced and missed putts from inside 10 feet on the fifth, sixth and 12th meant he trailed Coetzee by two with six to play.

A spectacular chip-in eagle on the 14th had him back in the lead, but he would find the water on the next to surrender a double-bogey and slip a shot behind Hansen.

There was to be more drama, however, as Hansen took four putts from just short of the green on the 17th for a double of his own and Colsaerts held his nerve over the last three holes for a third European Tour victory.

“It’s super special,” he told europeantour.com. “I’ve been coming here for so long and missed out a bunch of times and to do it here, to do this like this where at the end it was a pretty dramatic, makes it even better.

“I was kind of looking for a week like this where everything sort of clicked together. I don’t really have a week like that for a long, long time.

“It changes everything for me for the next couple of years, a lighter schedule. I have a wife at home and a little kid now that I am going to be able to spend a bit more time with now, which is nice.”

Hansen carded a closing 68 to finish a shot ahead of Coetzee and two clear of American Kurt Kitayama.

Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan and Scot Richie Ramsay were in the group at eight under alongside two-time major champion Martin Kaymer.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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