Former Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts is in contention for a first win since 2012 after taking a share of the halfway lead at Le Golf National.
The Belgian added a second round of 66 to his opening 67 to finish on nine under par, a total matched late in the day by overnight joint-leader George Coetzee, the South African making six birdies in his 68.
American Kurt Kitayama is a shot off the lead on eight under, with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay a stroke further back following a second round of 69.
Colsaerts reached a career-high of 32nd in the world following his victory in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2012, a win which helped him earn a Ryder Cup wild card from Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
The 36-year-old won just one of his four matches in the “Miracle at Medinah”, but famously made eight birdies and an eagle in partnering Lee Westwood to a fourball victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the opening day.
But Colsaerts began the week 424th in the world and 114th on the Race to Dubai, with only the top 117 keeping their European Tour card for 2020 after next week’s Portugal Masters.
“I think I just needed a reboot,” said Colsaerts. “I felt I was playing good enough throughout the year but I would always throw a pretty bad nine holes in here and there that would make me go backwards.”
“Coming into today, I was definitely thinking ‘Oh, it’s going to be really tough’, but it was a lot of fun,” he added.
Ramsay’s second round got off to a nightmare start with a double bogey on the opening hole, but the in-form Scot battled back to record a 69.
“I’m disappointed to finish with a bogey but overall really happy because it was a tough start,” Ramsay said. Really proud to bounce back well and obviously 69 is a good score considering the way I started.”