Nicolas Colsaerts won his first European Tour title in seven years as Le Golf National lived up to its reputation on a dramatic closing day of the Amundi Open de France.
The Belgium Bomber entered Sunday’s finale in Paris, France with a three-shot lead over George Coetzee, and quickly extended it to five strokes after a first-hole birdie coupled with a bogey by the South African. But three bogeys in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 2, 5 and 6) saw the Belgian’s lead cut to just two shots, and when Coetzee reeled off a hat trick of gains on Nos. 9-11, followed by a Colsaerts’ bogey on No. 12, the 54-hole leader was down a pair with six to play.
Colsaerts recovered nicely, though, with a birdie on the 13th and a chip-in eagle on No. 14 to retake the lead. A double bogey on No. 15 made things nervy, but three straight closing pars was enough to clinch a one-shot victory over Joachim B Hansen, who was in the clubhouse on 11-under par following a final-day 68.
Coetzee finished solo third on 10-under par after signing for an even-par 71.
The victory is Colsaerts’ third on the European Tour but first since 2012, the season he was part of the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ as Europe came from 10-4 behind to win the Ryder Cup.
“It’s very, very special,” said Colsaerts. “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.
“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.”
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Final Top-5 Finishers
Pos-Name-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Nicolas Colsaerts -12 (+1)
2. Joachim Hansen -11 (-3)
3. George Coetzee -10 (E)
4. Kurt Kitayama -9 (E)
5. Martin Kaymer -8 (-1)
5. Richie Ramsay -8 (E)
5. Gavin Moynihan -8 (E)
Top-3 Check Cashers
- Colsaerts – €266,666
- Hansen – €177,777
- Coetzee – €100,160
Name: Nicolas Colsaerts
Nickname: The Belgian Bomber
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 178 lbs
Birthdate: Nov 14, 1982 (age 36)
Native: Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium
Resides: Rixensart, Wallonia, Belgium
“Well, we knew the last four holes are always pretty dramatic. I proved it with hitting it in the water on 15. I mean, 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. But to look it in like this on 18, which is probably one of the most difficult par 4s on Tour, is very satisfying.”
– Nicolas Colsaerts