Otaegui, Uihlein share lead at French Open halfway stage

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SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France: American Peter Uihlein survived a late wobble to take a share of the lead with Spain’s Adrian Otaegui into the weekend at the weather-affected French Open near Paris.

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Uihlein was one of a number of players unable to finish his round until very late in the day on Friday at the Golf National after a lengthy delay as storms hit the course to the south-west of the French capital.

But he came back out to shoot three straight birdies from the 13th before a bogey at 17 and a saved par at the last completed a round of four-under-par 67 that left him eight-under at halfway.

Peter Uihlein AFP PHOTO

Otaegui had long since finished his round, carding a five-under-par 66 that featured six birdies, including one from a 40-foot putt at the short 16th.

The duo will go out in the last pairing on Saturday and hold a one-shot lead over England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Sweden’s Alexander Bjoerk.

“It was a good day,” Uihlein, who has managed three top-10 finishes this season, told europeantour.com. “I hit it pretty good. Made some nice putts I guess. I was pretty steady, really, so it was all right.”

Of the rain delay, he added: “When the rain came and they said we could go back out, I figured the greens would be a lot better and the wind died after the storm. I figured it actually wasn’t the worst time to actually have a little breather.”

It is tight at the top, with the top 17 players separated by just four shots at the venue that will host next year’s Ryder Cup.

Overnight leader Paul Waring was unable to build on his stunning opening 64, but a one-over 72 left him alongside fellow Englishman Nathan Kimsey on six under par.

Lee Westwood had four birdies and no dropped shots in a 67, while Romain Langasque got the home crowd going, the young Frenchman firing eight birdies in a 65 to also sit at four under.

But Fleetwood could be the danger man. The Englishman has been in fine form, including a fourth place at the recent US Open, and is building towards the British Open at his local course Royal Birkdale.

He followed his opening 67 with a 68 that featured just one dropped shot.

Further back, world number eight Alex Noren sits at two under par and 11th-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm is still in contention at three under.

Reigning champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand only just made the cut, while big names to fail to make the weekend included two-time winner Graeme McDowell and last year’s Masters champion Danny Willett.

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French Open Scores

Leading second-round scores in the 101st French Open at Golf National near Paris on Friday. Par 71 (GBR/IRL unless stated):

134 – Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 68-66, Peter Uihlein (USA) 67-67

135 – Tommy Fleetwood 67-68, Alexander Bjoerk (SWE) 66-69

136 – Paul Waring 64-72, Nathan Kimsey 66-70

137 – Graeme Storm 71-66, Ross Fisher 70-67, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 66-71

138 – Bradley Dredge 69-69, Lee Westwood 71-67, Robert Rock 71-67, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 70-68, Rikard Karlberg (SWE) 68-70, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 69-69, Andy Sullivan 68-70, Romain Langasque (FRA) 73-65

139 – Gregory Havret (FRA) 73-66, David Drysdale 70-69, Scott Hend (AUS) 69-70, Felipe Aguilar (CHI) 72-67, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 70-69, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 71-68, Nino Bertasio (ITA) 69-70, Kristoffer Broberg (SWE) 68-71, Haydn Porteous (RSA) 72-67, Jon Rahm (ESP) 70-69

Selected:
140 – Alex Noren (SWE) 69-71
141 – Ian Poulter 72-69
142 – Martin Kaymer (GER) 69-73
143 – Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 70-73, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 72-71
145 – Graeme McDowell 69-76, Danny Willett 72-73

AFP

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