Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – South African George Coetzee and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox claimed a proportion of the lead after the primary around of the French Open on Thursday because the Ecu Excursion returned to Le Golfing Nationwide a 12 months after it hosted the Ryder Cup.
The main duo fired six-under-par rounds of 65 to edge forward on a type day for scoring, with global quantity 128 Fox lacking a excellent birdie likelihood at the ultimate inexperienced as darkness began to near in.
The scene which greeted the gamers may no longer have differed extra from simply over 12 months in the past.
The grandstands have been long gone and there was once a low-key really feel to a gap day, watched via just a smattering of spectators, of a match which has misplaced a few of its attract this week after being driven from its standard spot originally of July and got rid of from the profitable Rolex Collection.
“These days was once a little bit quiet. Thursday is commonplace. It is k,” stated French participant Benjamin Hebert.
Protecting champion Alex Noren is the highest-ranked participant within the box at 53rd and the one guy who additionally featured within the Ryder Cup, so organisers will likely be relieved that the development will likely be returning to its common slot subsequent 12 months, albeit reportedly in southern France reasonably than the Paris suburbs.
The 33-year-old Coetzee performed the entrance 9 in five-under, whilst a bogey at the penultimate inexperienced was once his best blemish.
Coetzee has controlled just one top-five end to this point this season — when he was once tied-second at the back of compatriot Justin Harding on the Qatar Masters in March — however thinks he’s beginning to to find the shape which helped him climb to a career-high 41st within the scores in 2013.
He has since slipped to his present mark of 289.
“It is great to be within the combine once more. It is been roughly a difficult, lengthy 12 months, however appears like the sport is coming alongside effectively,” the four-time Ecu Excursion winner stated, after benefiting from the early stipulations, regardless of the morning gloom.
“It was once bizarre. It was once bizarre taking part in at the hours of darkness. I felt if I used to be a cricketer, they’d have known as it off.
“The route is in wonderful nick. Darkish and light-weight does not in point of fact make a distinction when the route is as excellent as it’s.”
It was once a robust day for the house contingent as they search for a primary French winner of the development since Thomas Levet in 2011.
Hebert carded a tremendous five-under 66, capped off with a birdie on the ultimate, to take a seat tied-third along Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and in-form American Kurt Kitayama, with French primary Victor Perez one stroke additional again.
“I think excellent give a boost to from the French public. We’ve got just one match a 12 months, so it is crucial for us to constitute (France) this week,” stated Hebert.
Romain Langasque, who carried the scoreboard throughout considered one of Tiger Woods’ fits on the Ryder Cup ultimate 12 months to get a style of the motion, signed for a 68.
In the meantime, Noren’s name defence were given off to a gradual get started with a one-over 72.
Main and decided on first-round rankings from the Ecu Excursion’s French Open at Le Golfing Nationwide on Thursday (par 71/GBR & IRL except mentioned):
65 – George Coetzee (RSA), Ryan Fox (NZL)
66 – Richie Ramsay, Benjamin Hebert (FRA), Kurt Kitayama (USA)
67 – Nicolas Colsearts (BEL), Darren Fichardt (RSA), Nicolai Hojgaard (DEN), Justin Walters (RSA), Victor Perez (FRA), Kalle Samooja (FIN), Jaco van Zyl (RSA)
68 – Kristoffer Reitan (NOR), Deyen Lawson (AUS), Hugo Leon (CHI), Gavin Moynihan, Romain Langasque (FRA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Joachim B. Hansen (DEN), Liam Johnston, Matthias Schwab (AUT), Brandon Stone (RSA), Jordan Smith, Chris Paisley
72 – Alex Noren (SWE)