Remesy in Control in France

By Sports NetworkJune 26, 2004, 4:00 pm
European TourPARIS, France -- Jean-Francois Remesy fired a 6-under 65 on Saturday to break free of the field and open a three-shot advantage after the third round of the Open de France. Remesy, who will try to become the first Frenchman to win this event since Jean Garaialde in 1969, finished at 12-under-par 201.
'I am not thinking about that,' Remesy said of ending the French drought. 'Definitely not. I am in a very good position. I am in the perfect position to have an opportunity. But an opportunity doesn't mean I am going to win.'
Richard Green of Australia posted a 66 to stand alone in second place at 9- under-par 204. Ian Woosnam, who played alongside Remesy in the final group on Saturday, kept pace with the leader early on but struggled down the stretch to finish third at 5-under-par 208 after a round of 72.
Remesy, whose lone European Tour victory came at the 1999 Estoril Open, has a trio of top-five finishes this year that momentum might peak in front of some very supportive galleries at Le Golf National.
'There is a lot of pressure on me, coming more from outside than myself,' said Remesy. 'It could be a great thing for France. If I can give that opportunity to the French country for the Open it would be great, a great feeling.'
The 40-year-old shared the lead with Woosnam to start the day and both players birdied the opening hole to remain knotted at seven-under. Remesy began to pull away at the par-5 third, however, and drained a 10-foot putt for the first of back-to-back birdies.
Remesy then dropped his approach inside 8 feet for a birdie at the par-4 sixth but faltered with a bogey at the very next hole to hold a slim lead over Woosnam around the turn.
Remesy caught fire on the inward half to leave his challengers behind. He tallied a birdie at the 10th and ran home an 18-footer for a birdie at the par-3 11th. Remesy then hit his second shot from the rough to 7 feet at the par-4 12th and made the birdie putt to move to 12 under.
At the par-4 13th, Remesy played his approach to 4 feet and converted the short birdie try to expand his lead to five. Remesy then gave a shot back with a bogey at the par-5 14th and parred his way in over the difficult closing holes to take a comfortable edge into the final round.
Green, who won the 1997 Dubai Desert Classic for his only European Tour title, stumbled early with a bogey at the second but countered well with four birdies over his next five holes to stay within reach of the lead.
'I would love to get that monkey off my back of only having one win,' said Green. 'I am starting to believe I am a good enough player to win more than once.'
The 33-year-old knocked his second shot to 6 feet for a birdie at the 11th but that fine play was negated by a bogey at the 12th. Green recovered to birdie his next two holes to finish three shots back.
Woosnam was rolling with three birdies over his first six holes but missed the green at the par-3 eighth en route to a bogey. The Welshman converted a 20-foot putt for a birdie at the 10th, but struggled on his way in with a pair of bogeys and a double bogey.
'I played well for 12 holes, didn't do much wrong but lost it again on the back nine,' said Woosnam. 'Trouble with this course, you start hitting a couple of bad shots and it gets hold of you.'
Gary Evans carded a 68 to join Ian Poulter and Peter O'Malley in a tie for fifth at 3-under-par 210. David Lynn, David Park and Nick O'Hern followed at 2-under-par 211.
Paul Casey matched Remesy with a 65 of his own on Saturday to finish alongside Jonathan Lomas and John Bickerton at 1-under-par 212.
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