Colsaerts hangs in there

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Mark Foster and Richard Finch enjoy a one-shot lead at the top at Gleneagles while Nicolas Colsaerts is in touching distance.

Mark Foster and Richard Finch enjoy a one-shot lead at the top of the Johnnie Walker Championship while Nicolas Colsaerts is in touching distance.

The 37-year-old Foster, who led by one shot with one hole to play last year before eventually losing out in a five-man play-off, carded a four-under-par 68 to move to the top of the leaderboard.

Fellow Englishman Finch, meanwhile, shot a 67 to move onto eight-under for a one-stroke advantage over Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and overnight leader Brett Rumford from Australia.

“To shoot 67 was definitely good,” he told europeantour.com. “We had a few downpours, and I had a couple of three-putts and I got that the first couple of holes.

“All in all it’s nice and I’m looking forward to playing, out first tomorrow, good fun, and it should be a good weekend.”

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Paul Waring from England are a further shot behind after carding a 66 and 67 respectively.

Colsaerts, who needs a top-two finish at Gleneagles to secure his place in European captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s Ryder Cup squad, remains in with a shout after battling two-under-par 70, which leaves him three shots off the pace along with David Howell.

“It was not enjoyable,” the Belgian admitted after the day’s play. “It wasn’t a very convincing round until a couple of holes to go.”

He added: “You can feel the freshness is not totally there and it was kind of a grind, but I didn’t shoot myself out and the three birdies were very important.”

Tournament chairman Colin Montgomerie, who is looking to become the oldest winner in European Tour history at the age of 49, is one of 11 players at four-under.

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