France not only dressed to impress in the third round of the PGAs of Europe International Team Championship but played golf to match.
In doing so, they set up a final round showdown with Scotland over the Old Course at Gloria Golf Club in the Turkish resort of Belek.
Sporting patriotic red, white and blue attire bought from the club shop, the French posted their best round of the tournament to share the lead with the defending champions on 12-under.
It also returned them to pole position, the berth they occupied on day one after their previous best of five-under put them a stroke clear of the 23 team-strong field pursuing the €6,000 first prize.
Then, Michael Altmeyer had been their star performer with a round of six-under. This time Raphael Eyraud and Arnaud Verhaege, followed suit.
The former posted four-under while the latter weighed in with three-under for what was his first contributing score of the tournament.
“I was one-over and four-over in the first and second rounds, so it’s good to contribute this time,” he said. “It was a good round for us today – let’s hope we can do the same tomorrow and have the French flag flying over the clubhouse.”
Explaining his team’s choice of clothing, Verhaege added: “The ones we were meant to wear didn’t arrive so we bought replacements from the club shop – the choice of colours was deliberate.”
Verhaege’s three-under was matched by Gareth Wright of Scotland and with Graham Fox, the scourge of both the Old and New Courses, having a relatively quiet day with a round of one-under, the French erased a three-stroke deficit.
That is the advantage the joint leaders have over Ireland but, with the best two scores from three counting, it is a slender one. Similarly, Wales on eight-under, and England, a stroke further back, are very much in the mix.
Wales were indebted to Sion Bebb who posted his second successive five-under-par round of 67, a score that puts him level with Italy’s Luca Beneduce on nine-under individually for the tournament, one behind Fox.
Meanwhile, the conclusion of the International Team Shield, the competition for teams representing a PGA with 100 members or fewer, looks set to be as competitive as the main tournament.
Host nation Turkey have led the tournament within a tournament from day one but their advantage over Poland going into the final round is just four strokes.
France, Scotland (-12); Ireland (-9); Wales (-8); England (-7); Italy (-2), Belgium, Denmark (+2).