Open de France: Thomas Pieters one shot off lead despite breaking driver

Thomas Pieters
Pieters won a record four points on his Ryder Cup debut last year
Open de France third-round leaderboard
-8 P Uihlein (US), A Bjork (Swe); -7 T Fleetwood (Eng) A Sullivan (Eng) T Pieters (Bel) -6 B Dredge (Wal); -5 P Waring (Eng), R Fisher (Eng), A Otaegui (Spa).
Selected others: -4 L Westwood (Eng), D Drysdale (Sco); -2 N Kimsey (Eng), G Storm Eng), R Rock (Eng); -1 I Poulter (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Thomas Pieters broke his driver on the ninth hole, then had three birdies on the back nine to stay in contention at the Open de France in Paris.

The Belgian, 25, pulled his tee shot on the ninth into the water for the second day running, took his frustration out on the club and saw the shaft snap.

His two-under 69 leaves him on seven under par, one shot off the lead shared by Peter Uihlein and Alexander Bjork.

England's Tommy Fleetwood (71) and Andy Sullivan (68) are alongside Pieters.

"It's my own fault and to have to play the back nine on this golf course without a driver, it's not easy," Pieters said.

"I wasn't trying to break my driver at all. Me and my caddie, we kind of laughed because I just put it in my bag and I think there's maybe a soft spot in the shaft or something.

"I didn't put it in with a lot of force and it broke."

A 71 was enough for halfway joint-leader Uihlein to remain at the head of the field on a wet and windy day at Le Golf National, which will stage the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Welshman Bradley Dredge is two shots off the lead after a third straight 69, with Ross Fisher, Paul Waring and halfway joint-leader Adrian Otaegui a shot further back on five under.

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