American Kevin Stadler celebrated Independence Day by claiming a three-shot lead in the Alstom Open de France, despite a dreaded shank on the final hole of his second round.
Stadler carded a flawless opening 64 at Le Golf National and did not drop his first shot of the tournament until his 32nd hole at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue on the outskirts of Paris.
But after bouncing back in style with birdies on the next two holes, the world No 62 shanked his approach to the par-five ninth – his final hole – into heavy rough to run up a double-bogey seven.
“I just tried to get a little too much out of it,” Stadler, who had to settle for a 68. “I didn’t have the best of lies and had to hit the shot perfectly. I got a little too steep on it and it came off the hosel and into the deep stuff.
“It was not exactly how I planned to finish the day but overall it was another good day so it’s all good. I putted brilliantly the first couple of days. I got a little sloppy on my final nine (yesterday) but other than that struck the ball very well, had a lot of chances and rolled in a lot of nice putts.”
Asked if he felt that a score of 10 under par had been on the cards, Stadler added: “Absolutely not, especially not through two days. I’d be very excited and, in fact, I’d probably still take it at the end of the week.”
Stadler’s nearest challenger is Parisian Victor Riu, whose only bogey in a round of 67 came on the 18th, with 2012 winner Marcel Siem two shots further back on five under after a round of 72.
Defending champion Graeme McDowell added a 69 to his opening 70 to finish three under par, good enough for a share of fourth place with six other players.
Julien Taylor of York is the new Yorkshire Amateur champion.
The 21-year-old defeated Oliver Smith of Hallamshire 9&8 in yesterday’s final at Alwoodley.
Taylor won three of the first four holes yesterday and never looked back.
He is currently on a golf scholarship at university in Florida, where he has just finished his third year.
Taylor also played regularly for Yorkshire’s mens and junior teams in his youth.
He defeated Jamie Bower of Mesham 3&2 in the semi-final while Smith triumphed by one hole over Moor Allerton’s Ben Sardo – last year’s beaten finalist – in his last-four tie.