Zanotti Takes over Lead in French Open

Little-known Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay carded his second straight 3-under 68 to take the halfway lead in the French Open. The European Tour event began Thursday at Le Golf National in Paris.

The 30-year-old Zanotti, whose best finish this season is a T-24 at the BMW PGA Championship in May, carded four birdies and a bogey Friday to reach 6-under 136, a stroke ahead of South African Richard Sterne (69) and two Danes, Thomas Bjorn (69) and Soren Kjeldsen (68).

First-round leader Anders Hansen of Denmark slipped down the leaderboard into a tie for 44th after a 78. He opened with a 66.

Zanotti's last win came in the 2006 Abierto Mexicano Corona on the Challenge Tour. He qualified for the European Tour in 2008, but lost his card following his rookie campaign after finishing 153rd on the Order of Merit. However, he regained his status the following year after finishing 16th in Q-School.

Two strokes behind the leader are Scotland's Stephen Gallacher (70), Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell (69) and two Brits, Graeme Storm and Simon Dyson, who both shot 68s.

Three back are Scotland's Scott Jamieson (70), Australia's Richard Green (70) and Spain's Eduardo De La Riva, who posted the low round of the day, a 4-under 67.

Other scores included a 75 by American Matt Kuchar, the highest-ranked player in the field. The fifth-ranked player opened with a 70. No. 8 Luke Donald of England shot a 73 and stands at 144.

The cut was set at 3-over 145. Among those heading home is American Peter Uihlein, who posted rounds of 75 and 73, and defending champion Marcel Siem of Germany, who despite a 70 on Friday couldn't overcome an opening 78 at the course that will host the 2018 Ryder Cup.

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