The DP World Tour heads to the storied Le Golf National in Paris for the Cazoo Open De France this week with the Irish contingent looking to make their mark heading into the business end of the season.
Tom McKibbin heads into the tournament looking strengthen his grip on a place at the DP World Tour Final and make a push for one of the coveted PGA Tour cards come the end of the season. Tom sits in 41st place on the Race to Dubai and with the top 50 on the rankings earning a spot at Jumeirah Estate’s Earth Course in November and the top 10 not already exempt earning PGA Tour cards, the man from Hollywood will look for a good finish here to make his case for both of those honours and get closer to his idol Rory McIlroy in the battle for the Order of Merit.
John Murphy is looking for a big finish this week to improve his chances of retaining his tour card for next season. Cork man Murphy sits in 208th place on the Race to Dubai and will need to finish the season strong to climb into the safety zone of the top 120 on the rankings to ensure his place on the tour next season.
Mark Power is set to make his second pro start after a solid debut at the Irish Open at the K Club. After pocketing a €40,000 check in his first tournament as a professional at his home Open, Power continued in his rich vein of form, qualifying for the Second Stage of DP World Tour Q-School after easing through the First Stage in Austria. Power will enter this week full of confidence and hope to continue his good play this week heading into stage two of Q-School.
Tom Kim is excited to test his game at Le Golf National in this week as he bids to boost his hopes of returning to the venue for next year’s Olympics.
The South Korean is making his debut in continental Europe’s oldest national Open, which is celebrating its 50th edition on the DP World Tour.
The event marks an opportunity for many in the field to gain experience around the 2018 Ryder Cup venue, which will stage the golf competition when it appears on the Olympic schedule for the third consecutive time since its return in 2016.
“It’s [the 2024 Olympics] definitely up there in my mind,” he said. “Obviously, I want to play well this week, but I am also trying to get used to the course and be able to hopefully qualify for the Olympics and represent my country.
“I think it’s going to be fun at the Olympics next year when it’s here. Obviously it’s a great test and I can only imagine what it’s going to be like coming down the stretch to fight for gold. So no, I’m looking forward to it.”
Other favourites include Min Woo Lee, Thorbjorn Olesen, the defending champion Guido Migliozzi and last weeks winner at the BMW PGA Championship, Ryan Fox.
Ahead of the tournament Fox admits he is still basking in the glory of his BMW PGA Championship triumph as he looks to maintain his momentum this week in France
The New Zealander won his fourth DP World Tour title and first on the Rolex Series at Wentworth Club last week, recovering from a triple bogey early in the final round to enter the history books as the first Kiwi winner of the event.
As a result, the victory catapulted Fox, who claimed last season’s Seve Ballesteros Award, to third on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
He now makes his fifth appearance Continental Europe’s oldest national open, having been inundated with messages of congratulations.
The Albatros course at Le Golf National is infamous for its tight fairways and thick rough and requires precision ball striking to succeed around the tough layout.
The French Open is the oldest national open in continental and the tournament has been held ay Le Golf National every year since, except on two occasions in 1999 and 2001. The tournament includes past winners such as Graeme McDowell, Alex Noren, Tommy Fleetwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez as well as team Europe in 2018 when they beat the USA 17-11 to regain the Ryder Cup.
The course also boasts one of the most terrifying final four hole stretches in World golf with 15,16, 17 and 18 requiring brave and excellent golf to finish strong and get the job done. Whoever wins this week will certainly have earned the title of French Open Champion.