Coetzee and Fox joint leaders at Le Golf National

By Peter Thompson 18 October 2019 4
Coetzee and Fox joint leaders at Le Golf National

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.

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