French Open attracts top class field
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2010 Open de France | Preview | 29 Jun 2010
The Alstom Open de France has long been one of the most lucrative purses in European regular tournament golf and although prize-money has fallen by 25% this year, the field assembled reflects the status it still carries in European golf. It is after all the oldest national open golf championship in Continental Europe.
This is a great field. Five of the leading eleven players in the world ranking are at Le Golf National and there is an argument for each of them to win.
World number three Lee Westwood might have disappointed at the US Open but he did well enough and his earlier form was such that he is expected to be the man to beat. Further supporting his claims for the title is the fact that he finished runner-up after a playoff to Martin Kaymer last year.
Kaymer is not far from his best and as the defending champion on the Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge designed layout to the south and west of Paris he must be considered as a chance to win his second event of the season.
Luke Donald was brilliant prior to the US Open and although he struggled at Pebble Beach he could well bounce back to the level he was at when winning in Madrid and third in Wales.
Rhys Davies and Charl Schwartzel are two outstanding young talents. Schwartzel has been at another level this year and should go on with it this week.
Davies was twice runner up prior to making the cut at the US Open although finishing well back. He has emerged as one of the most exciting prospects in European golf and a win this week could well cement a place on the Ryder Cup. It is not beyond him.
Those mentioned do not even include the likes of Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, and Ross Fisher.
Australians in the field include Richard Green who finished runner up in this event in 2004 and has continued to play the Le Golf National course well.
Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy are likely to improve on their disappointing efforts at Pebble Beach where they both missed the cut by one. It was not all that long ago that Scott won in San Antonio.
Ogilvy has been far from his best since his season opening victory in Hawaii. He showed glimpses in the past month or so but he needs significant improvement if he is to contend against this strong field.
Marcus Fraser, Andrew Dodt, Brett Rumford, Peter O’Malley, Scott Strange, Rick Kulacz, Daniel Gaunt and Marcus Both are other Australians in the field.