Richie Ramsay posts 66 to sit one shot off lead at Open de France

Scotland's Richie Ramsay en route to a solid five-under-par round of 66, which leaves him nicely placed just one shot off the lead. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty
Scotland's Richie Ramsay en route to a solid five-under-par round of 66, which leaves him nicely placed just one shot off the lead. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty
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Scotland’s Richie Ramsay is a shot off the lead in joint third place after day one of the Amundi Open de France.

George Coetzee and Ryan Fox sat at the top of a heavily congested leaderboard at Le Golf National.

Continental Europe’s oldest national open has moved from its traditional summer spot in the schedule to the autumn, and the softer conditions and lighter rough made scoring conditions favourable at the venue that was so formidable at last year’s Ryder Cup.

There were 49 players under par at the end of round one and Coetzee and Fox led the way after carding rounds of 65 each containing a single bogey.

Ramsay was at five under alongside local favourite Benjamin Hebert and American Kurt Kitayama after collecting six birdies dropping just one shot in a solid round of 66.

The Scot has already safely secured his playing privileges for next season after taking it right to the wire in 2018, and he enjoyed his opening 18 holes in the French capital.

“It’s obviously a fantastic golf course,” he said. “A little bit different this year. A bit colder, a bit softer, so the course is playing quite long. It’s a joy to play a golf course like this because it just tests the whole part of your game and mentally, obviously there’s a lot of water out there, so you have to be very committed to your shots.”

South African Coetzee set the target in the morning and he reached seven under at one point before a bogey on the 17th dropped him back.

“It was almost perfect,” he told europeantour.com.

“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’s single blemish came on the 13th but he redeemed himself with a stunning tee-shot on the par three 16th to share the lead.

“I’m pretty happy,” he said. “This is a golf course that can kick you pretty quickly. I played really solid today, holed some putts. I played those tough holes, that closing stretch, really well.

“I could have grabbed a couple more on those last four, which is always a bonus, but very happy to walk away with a 65 around here.”

One man who did not enjoy the day was 2012 champion Marcel Siem, who disqualified himself after a rules mix-up.

The German incorrectly believed preferred lies were in play and lifted, cleaned and replaced his ball five times on the fairway in his first round before discovering his error and walking off at the turn.

“I played the ball from the wrong place five times and conceded 10 penalty strokes,” he wrote on Facebook.

“That was a little too much for me and I disqualified myself.”