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."

Nicolas Colsaerts will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Open de France after giving himself a golden opportunity to end his title drought on Saturday.

Colsaerts has not won a European Tour tournament since 2012, but a four-under 67 in his third round put the Belgian 13 under with a nice cushion at Le Golf National.

The 36-year-old can retain his playing privileges with a victory on Sunday and he enhanced his chances of achieving that on moving day.

Colsaerts hit the turn in 34 after making back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth holes, then made another three gains on the back nine with just one bogey at 17.

George Coetzee shared the lead with Colsaerts after the second round in Paris, but the South African will start the last round with ground to make up after signing for a one-under 70.

Coetzee dropped a shot at the second but gained momentum after the turn with three birdies in a row, only for a double bogey at the 13th to halt his charge.

Jamie Donaldson rose into a share of third place with a brilliant five-under 66, a bogey at 13 the only blemish on the Welshman's card.

Kurt Kitayama is alongside Donaldson on nine under, while Richie Ramsay, Gavin Moynihan and Joachim B Hansen are a further stroke back.

Hansen showed great character to recover from a quintuple bogey at 13, birdying the next four holes to move into a share of fifth spot. 

George Coetzee and Nicolas Colsaerts share the lead at the halfway mark of the Open de France after capitalising on improved afternoon conditions at Le Golf National.

Coetzee and Ryan Fox were joint-leaders after the first round in Paris and the South African will head into the weekend nine under par after carding a three-under 68.

Colsaerts, battling to keep his European Tour card, joined Coetzee out in front with a five-under 66 as Fox slipped back to three under after a three-over 74.

Morning starters had to contend with cold and wind following overnight rain, but the weather improved later in the day and Coetzee took advantage by making six birdies on his back nine.

The four-time European Tour champion hit the turn in 37 after starting at the 10th but came into his own with four gains in a row and finished with a seventh birdie of the day after dropping a shot at the eighth.

Colsaerts also made his move after the turn, conjuring up five birdies in six holes to lead the way and the big-hitting Belgian would have been out on his own but for a second bogey at 18.

The in-form Kurt Kitayama is well poised to improve on a third-place finish at the Italian Open after he went around in 68 to sit just a shot off the lead.

Richie Ramsay is a further stroke back, while defending champion Alex Noren made the cut despite a second successive 72.

George Coetzee and Ryan Fox top a congested leaderboard after the first round of the Open de France.

Coetzee set the clubhouse target with a six-under 65 at Le Golf National on Thursday, with the South African's only bogey coming at the 17th.

The four-time European Tour winner got under way with back-to-back birdies and reeled off another three in a row from the sixth to hit the turn in 31, then went on to sign for his lowest opening round of the season. 

"It was almost perfect," Coetzee said. "I played really well. It's nice to be in the mix again. It's been kind of a hard, long year but it feels like the game is coming along nicely."

Fox also went out in 31 following birdies at the first, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth holes, as the New Zealander's solitary dropped shot came at 13.

Benjamin Hebert, Kurt Kitayama and Richie Ramsay were just a shot off the lead after starting with five-under rounds of 66.

Hebert's seventh gain of the day moved him into a share of second spot in his homeland, while there was just one bogey apiece for American Kitayama - third in the Italian Open last week - and Scot Ramsay.

Victor Perez is among seven players another stroke back on home soil, along with Nicolas Colsaerts, but it was not a good day for defending champion Alex Noren.

The Swede faces a battle to make the cut after carding a one-over 72.

Bernd Wiesberger produced a superb six-under 65 at the Italian Open on Sunday to snatch victory from Matt Fitzpatrick by a single stroke.

Wiesberger had been solid if unspectacular all week, sitting three shots behind overnight leader Fitzpatrick heading into the final round in Rome.

But the Austrian found his best form over the last 18 holes as several around him stuttered, with Fitzpatrick only managing a 69 - his highest score of the tournament.

It meant Wiesberger's bogey-free effort was enough to win on the European Tour for the third time this year, having missed much of the 2018 season with a wrist injury.

The 34-year-old also returned to the top of the Race to Dubai standings while climbing to 22nd in the world rankings.

"It's been a great summer for me," he said. "I've had a lot of good golf shown and a lot of progress after coming back from the injury last year.

"I've won three times this year and it's been the same every time, I've just really enjoyed my time and I'm positive to be back out there because I know how tough it was when I had to withdraw from these great events.

"I feel excited about what is ahead of us in these last four events."

Fitzpatrick was far from the only player to allow Wiesberger through, as both Kurt Kitayama (12 under in third) and Robert MacIntyre (11 under in joint-fourth) played even-par rounds.

Fitzpatrick said: "To lose by one is obviously very disappointing. I think I've played well when I've been up there on a Sunday, just other people really keep grinding and I keep coming up from behind.

"It is what it is. It's still a great week, I'm here to win and not here to just make up the numbers."

Matt Wallace tied for seventh despite a 72, having started the day level with Wiesberger.

Justin Rose made a seven-under 64 but it was not nearly enough to atone for Saturday's miserable 78 that had him back at par, finishing in a tie for 15th.

Matt Fitzpatrick made a strong finish to his third round at the Italian Open to regain a one-shot lead in Rome.

Fitzpatrick started moving day with the slenderest of advantages, and after struggling early on he returned to the top of the leaderboard after coming up with four birdies in his last six holes.

American Kurt Kitayama looked set to be the man to catch on the final day at Olgiata Golf Club after a sparkling 65 - before Englishman Fitzpatrick gained momentum to post a three-under 68 and move to 13 under.

Fitzpatrick dropped a shot at the second after starting with a birdie, and made another bogey at the 10th, but he got back into the groove with a late charge courtesy of a combination of excellent approach shots and clinical putting.

"To put myself one in front gives me a little bit of help," said five-time European Tour event winner Fitzpatrick. "I'm just looking forward and I'm ready to go already.

"Coming down the hill on the 12th it didn't feel like I should be one over. I didn't hit as many good shots as I would have liked around the turn so that cost me a little bit and put me back. To finish the way I did was great."

American Kitayama finished the day in second place after signing for a bogey-free, six-under score.

Kitayama reached the turn in 32 after making three gains on the front nine and picked up another three shots to put himself firmly in contention.

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre also surged up the leaderboard with a magnificent 64 to stand third, just two shots adrift of Fitzpatrick, while Bernd Wiesberger and Matt Wallace both went round in 67 and were a further shot back.

Matt Fitzpatrick produced a superb second round to lead the Italian Open at the halfway point, but home hope Francesco Molinari will not play the weekend.

Fitzpatrick made seven birdies and just one bogey as he carded a six-under 65 in Rome to take a one-shot lead into the weekend.

"Just a really, really solid day," Fitzpatrick said of his performance. "I figured out something with my irons after the second hole. I just felt much more comfortable with my irons once I was out there. That certainly showed. I only missed one green after that.

"When you're in these kind of positions, it's always exciting. That's why you play the game, and look forward to the weekend."

Fitzpatrick has not won since his triumph at the European Masters last year. On that occasion he defeated Lucas Bjerregaard in a play-off and he has another Dane for company at the top of the leaderboard.

Joachim B. Hansen's 66 pushed him to nine under par through 36 holes, while Graeme McDowell, Rory Sabbatini and world number five Justin Rose are in a group of five players three shots off the pace.

Molinari, however, endured a nightmare second day.

The 2018 Open champion went through the first 18 in par, a score that would have seen him into round three had he replicated it.

He made the turn in level par but a dreadful back nine put paid to his hopes of making the cut. Molinari registered back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12, and the strong finish he needed did not materialise as he doubled the par-five 17th before ending his tournament with another dropped shot.

Home hopeful Francesco Molinari endured an underwhelming start to the Italian Open with an even-par opening round as trilby-wearing Tapio Pulkkanen led early on.

The 2018 Open Championship winner, Molinari has twice triumphed in Italy, but he struggled to make inroads on Thursday with a round that contained two birdies and two bogeys.

That left Molinari trailing his brother Edoardo by a stroke and put him just above the projected cut line, leaving one of the tournament's biggest names under pressure heading into Friday.

Sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard, though, was Pulkkanen after the lowest opening round of his European Tour career - an impressive seven-under 64.

The 29-year-old Finn went bogey-free, making four consecutive birdies from the 14th, and said: "I think the first year [on the tour] was a learning year. The second year has been more comfortable being here.

"I haven't played that well in the Rolex tournaments so it's kind of a new situation as well, but it's a long way to go and I feel good about my game.

"My putter was really hot today. I made a lot of putts, especially on the front nine, I was five under, I made a lot of long putts. It was perfect greens, so easy to make them."

Despite Molinari's struggles, there were still a number of notable talents in pursuit of Pulkkanen and Rory Sabbatini, who was one shot back.

World number five Justin Rose reached five under, where he was joined by Kurt Kitayama, Joost Luiten, Shubhankar Sharma and Bernd Wiesberger.

However, Victor Perez, playing just two weeks on from his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship success, was in miserable form, with seven bogeys leaving him at three over.

Jon Rahm retained his Open de Espana title on home soil with a commanding five-stroke victory to take top spot in the Race to Dubai rankings.

Rahm began his final round with a five-shot advantage and finished it with the same cushion after carding a closing 66 at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

The Ryder Cup star was never in danger of relinquishing his lead after taking command on day three, going out in 32 on Sunday courtesy of an eagle at the fourth and two birdies.

Rahm picked up further shots at the 10th and 14th holes and made just one bogey, finishing well clear on 22 under to remain champion.

The 24-year-old replaces Shane Lowry at the summit in the Race to Dubai standings and is the fastest Spaniard to five European Tour wins, breaking the late Seve Ballesteros' record.

Rahm's compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello also shot a 66 to finish on his own in second place on 17 under. 

Cabrera Bello was in need of a blistering start to try and put pressure on Rahm but hit the turn in 36 and although he birdied five of the last six holes in a bogey-free round, it was too late to catch his countryman.

World number 1,413 Samuel Del Val secured an impressive third spot in his homeland on 15 under in only his fifth European Tour event.

Jeff Winther finished with a magnificent eight-under 63 to share fourth place with Adri Arnaus and Joachim B. Hansen.

Defending champion Jon Rahm will take a five-shot lead into the final round of the Open de Espana after lighting up the back nine on Saturday.

Rahm started moving day two shots adrift of fellow Spaniards Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus, but took command with a magnificent eight-under 63 in his homeland.

The world number five produced a masterclass after hitting the turn in 35, picking up a further seven shots on the way home at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid to sit pretty on 17 under.

Rahm carded an astonishing back-nine 28 to put himself well on course for a fifth European Tour title and top spot in the Race to Dubai rankings.

The Ryder Cup star dropped shots at back-to-back holes before the turn but got on a roll to move away from his compatriots, gaining a stroke at the 10th to stand just a shot off the lead before reeling off four birdies in a row and an eagle two at 16.

Cabrera Bello and Samuel Del Val share second place on 12 under following third rounds of 70 and 69 respectively.

Three-time European Tour winner Cabrera Bello was bogey-free through his first two rounds, but he dropped a shot on the first and made another two bogeys as Rahm shifted through the gears.

The 1,413-ranked Del Val, who does not have international playing privileges, gathered momentum with three birdies in the space of four holes on the back nine, but dropped one shot on the front nine and another at the 18th.

Arnaus' challenge faded as he signed for a 72, dropping back to a share of fifth place with Jason Scrivener and Zander Lombard, with seven shots to make up on Rahm, while Jens Dantorp is fourth on 11 under.

Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus led the way as home talent dominated the top of the Open de Espana leaderboard at the end of day two in Madrid.

None of the early starters caused overnight leader Kristian Krogh Johannessen to worry, but the Norwegian proved to be his own worst enemy in the afternoon when shooting a two-over-par 73, a hefty 10 strokes worse than his Thursday score at the Club de Campo Villa.

Taking full advantage was Cabrera Bello, whose six-under-par 65 took him to 11 under overall and ensured he completed the opening 36 holes of a European Tour event without a bogey for the first time. A long-range putt on the par-three ninth after missing the green proved vital in that respect.

Defending champion Jon Rahm remained very much in the hunt, recovering well after a double bogey on the second to card a 67 and sit just two shots off the pace in fourth.

Arnaus – a European Tour rookie – had looked destined to lead at the end of the day, only for a bogey at the last hole to force him to settle for a 66 and a share of first place with Cabrera Bello.

Another Spaniard, Samuel Del Val, had a 65 to reach 10 under and hold down third place going into the weekend.

With Rahm, Arnaus and Cabrera Bello all in the running near the top, the latter said he relished such domination on home soil.

"Yesterday [Thursday] was like a dream day and it was the same again," Cabrera Bello said. "I think we are 31 under for the three of us, which is remarkable.

"We've been feeding off each other, and with thousands of people cheering us on, it's been amazing."

Arnaus added: "I'm really proud of how I played these first two rounds, I enjoyed it so much with this home support and also playing alongside Rahm and Rafa – it's been two fantastic days."

One of the most prominent Spaniards in action, Sergio Garcia, was way off the lead on four under for the tournament, matching Italy's Edoardo Molinari, with both players having carded consecutive rounds of 69.

Kristian Krogh Johannessen made a storming start at the Open de Espana, where defending champion Jon Rahm was among the home favourites to begin strongly.

Norwegian Johannessen, starting at the 10th hole, birdied four of his last six holes at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid to sign for an outstanding eight-under-par 63.

Had preferred lies not been in play, Johannessen's score would have entered the history books as the lowest opening round in tournament history and matched the course record.

Still, Johannessen – who made an eagle two at the 15th and had just one bogey at the following hole – will a take a two-shot lead into round two.

"It was a good round," Johannessen, who missed the first nine cuts of his rookie year after graduating from qualifying school last season, told the European Tour's website. 

"I didn't hit it perfectly but hit it in the right spots, even when I missed and I holed some good putts.

"I'm out there having fun and playing smart. It's a tricky course but I've got a friend on the bag this week and we're having fun out there.

"If you get stressed you start easily making mistakes. I just need to keep cool and play my own game." 

Spain's Adri Arnaus is the highest-placed home player. Also starting at the 10th, he was six under by the turn before a bogey at the second hole slightly derailed his progress.

A birdie at his last hole meant Arnaus was six under and one shot ahead of a cluster of six players, which included playing partner and compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Rahm was also among that group, the 2018 victor's card showing six birdies and just a solitary dropped shot.

Whistling Straits will provide the perfect setting for all the thrills and spills synonymous with the Ryder Cup, according to Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington.

The Wisconsin course, which has hosted the US PGA Championship three times, is the stage for next September's edition of the biennial clash.

Harrington will be seeking to guide his side to a second consecutive title, having thrashed the United States 17.5-10.5 in Paris last year under the stewardship of Thomas Bjorn.

The Irishman and opposite number Steve Stricker faced the world's media on Tuesday during a year-to-go event at the links-style track.

"It will be a great venue for the Ryder Cup," said three-time major winner Harrington, who believes in the distant future a neutral venue will host the event.

"It's a dramatic course. The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest sporting events and probably the most exciting event in golf.

"It needs a dramatic course that lends itself to spectacular play, as well as disastrous play.

"The three PGA [Championships] I played here, what I remember most is the variability of the golf course.

"With a change of wind, moving the tee box forward or back – it can change the whole character of the hole."

On the subject of moving the competition to somewhere outside of Europe or America, Harrington added: "Clearly in Europe, we get to set the golf course up and we set it up in every way we can to suit our players, and in the States, we have seen that as well, where it is set up to be the most advantageous for the home team.

"It is not going to happen probably in my lifetime, but 40 or 50 years down the road with the Ryder Cup still going along, it would probably be best to have a neutral set-up."

For Wisconsin local Stricker, the fact no American has triumphed in any of the majors played at Whistling Straits is a cause for concern.

And the windy and rainy conditions that accompanied Tuesday's media event prompted the 52-year-old to ask Harrington if he had brought the weather with him from Ireland.

"Hopefully we have nice, sunny 75-degree days this time next year," said Stricker.

"If you look out there it has the feel of Ireland. The whole setting next to Lake Michigan, it could be overseas.

"It's a great venue. We're going to have an unbelievable crowd, with an atmosphere like [2016 host course] Hazeltine."

Victor Perez outlasted Matthew Southgate in a round-four thriller to claim his maiden European Tour title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The duo were level heading into Sunday's play at St Andrews' old course and were still unable to be split by the 17th after a ding-dong battle.

However, a costly bogey from Southgate at the penultimate hole meant Frenchman Perez – who now resides in nearby Dundee – was able to lift the trophy thanks to a two-under-par 70 that left him at 22 under overall.

"The emotions were really high all day," said Perez, who graduated from the European Challenge Tour last season.

"It was really cold and windy, a long day out there and I felt I was able to battle.

"It wasn't easy, Matt played amazing. I was expecting some of the guys to charge and we were fortunate that it was kind of a one on one battle on the back nine.

"JP [Fitzgerald, Perez's caddie] knows the three courses like the back of his pocket, especially St Andrews, and it was a huge advantage for me to know where to hit it and really trust him."

A run of four birdies in five holes prior to the turn seemingly saw the momentum shift to Southgate, but dropped shots at 14 and 17 proved his undoing as he finished one stroke back.

Perez's victory means he enters the world's top 70, and also the top 20 in the European Tour's Race to Dubai Rankings.

Paul Waring and Joakim Lagergren finished two shots back in a tie for third, while Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Lewis each signed for sensational 64s to finish among a cluster of five players three strokes adrift.

Rory McIlroy has not quite been able to keep pace with the leaders this weekend but a classy 67 saw him finish the tournament at 15 under, one shot above Justin Rose. 

Victor Perez and Matthew Southgate hit the front at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Saturday as several big names faltered in Scotland.

Perez has never won a European Tour event but, after tackling St Andrews and Carnoustie with some success, he kicked clear on the Kingsbarns leg, only to be caught by Southgate.

Paul Waring had set a clubhouse target of 18 under before Perez crept into contention and then seized control of the tournament with five consecutive birdies.

The Frenchman started from the 10th but left his best work for the way back on the traditional front nine, picking up shots from the second to sixth holes.

Perez recovered from a bogey at the eighth to end with a birdie and carded an eight-under 64 to move to 20 under.

But he was matched by Southgate, playing St Andrews, at the last, the 30-year-old's late birdie securing a seven under - his scores this week reading: 65, 66, 65.

Invitee Matthew Jordan, who had led heading into the weekend, saw his form tail away at Carnoustie, firing three straight birdies on the back nine but ending with two bogeys across the final three holes, slumping to joint-ninth with a 71.

But he was far from the only player to have excelled on Friday and found the following day's play rather trickier.

Justin Rose lit up the tournament with a sensational first nine holes on Friday, scoring just 28 before the turn, but he was back in a tie for 14th after 48 holes.

The Englishman could only manage a two-under 70 even with a birdie at the last at St Andrews.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy also shot a 70 at the Old Course after a slow start and was joint-40th, a shot back from Tommy Fleetwood, who recorded the same score in a very mixed round.

Page 1 of 11
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.