Emotional Colsaerts hails 'very special' triumph at Le Golf National

By Sports Desk October 20, 2019

An emotional Nicolas Colsaerts hailed a "very special" victory at the Open de France as he just held off a final-day surge from Joachim B Hansen to win at Le Golf National.

Colsaerts took at three-shot lead into Sunday's fourth round as he sought a first European Tour title since 2012, but his victory was far from comfortable.

The Belgian emerged triumphant by a solitary shot over Hansen after a dramatic day, with the win ensuring the 36-year-old retains his Tour card.

Colsaerts shot a 72 on a nervous outing in wet conditions that saw him double bogey the 15th, but he just got over the line.

His winning score of 12 under par edged out Hansen, who made a costly double bogey on 17 and signed for a 68.

George Coetzee was in contention until the final stages but ultimately ended up two shots adrift in third. Both he and Colsaerts were in the water on 15.

"It's very, very special," Colsaerts said. 

"So many people have supported me over the years, that's why I get so emotional. I went through up and downs for so many years now.

"The French Open for me is very special because I'm French-speaking. I've been coming here for I don't know how many years, it's been a long road.

"We knew the last four holes are always pretty dramatic, I proved it with hitting it in the water on 15. I don't know what happened on 17 with JB but it was a bit of a surprise when I got on to the green. I thought I was still going to be one behind."

Kurt Kitayama finished fourth, while a miserable 78 for Jamie Donaldson saw him drop from a share of third overnight to a final placing of joint-23rd.

Hansen was encouraged to come so close to glory, despite his late mistake denying him a first Tour triumph.

"On the back nine I got excited," he said. "I really got to feel how it is to play for a European Tour tournament inside me.

"The screw-up on 17 was unfortunate, it cost me a chance this week. I'm disappointed now but also really proud of my game."

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