Open de France: Paul Waring leads the way

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

Paul Waring leads the way going into the 2nd round at the Open de France but he has close company on the leaderboard.

The 101st Open de France first round delivered more than one surprise, but perhaps the most welcome was Paul Waring’s opening seven-under par, bogey-free 64.  Waring is clearly making good progress getting his body back into serious competitive condition.

While it’s early days at Le Golf National, Waring looks to be positioning himself yet again to contend. Top-10s this season at the European Tour‘s Hong King Open, the Joburg Open, and the Trophée Hassan II have been very encouraging signs that the Englishman is returning to form.

Waring admitted his tee-to-green game wasn’t at its peak during the first round. His flatstick saved him.

"I only hit five fairways which is obscene around here. But I think I had nine putts on the back nine. Obviously rolled the putter great and gave myself some real chances out there and took them."

His goal for Friday is to straighten out his tee shots.

"If we drive it better, we can go really silly but really happy with how it’s gone. If we can just score similar to that, I’ll be more than happy."

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Waring will go into the Open de France second round leading his closest challengers, Thomas Pieters, Alexander Björk, and Nathan Kimsey by two strokes. Tournament favorite Tommy Fleetwood, with an opening four-under par round, is trailing Waring by three and favorite son Alexander Lévy, at two-under par, has a bit of work ahead of him if he’s to challenge Waring.

Fleetwood explained that he’s pleased with his first round play and taking the long view ass he prepares for Friday:

"I played really well today start to finish. Never really got out of position. Anything around par around here is always good. That is my best score by a long way but I felt fine out there today, felt like I hit it well. Make the most of it when you play well. The game can change one day to the next, just enjoy the good rounds when they come. Whether I play well or not, I feel like I’m sort of improving little things all the time and that’s the main thing about the game, just keep moving forward week-in, week-out. You know how the game is. You’re going to have your bad weeks, going to have your good ones, but just keep going. Stay level and keep happy."

While we wait for the second round to begin, enjoy this video celebration of a century of Opens de France.

Next: Open de France power rankings

Golf Channel begins live coverage of the Open de France second round Friday, June 30 at 4:30am ET.