Westwood and Kaymer French Open hopes
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 Alstom Open de France | Preview | 03 Jul 2012
After one of the most successful regular tour events in its history, the European Tour heads back across the Irish Sea and the English Channel from last week’s Irish Open for the Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National outside of Paris.
The event was first played at this venue back in 1991, a golf course that has played host on most of the occasions since. The layout was opened in 1990 and designed by Hubert Chesneau with Robert Van Hagge as a consultant.
In many respects the golf course was ahead of its time in terms of its suitability for large scale tournament golf as it was purpose built to stage significant events and in France there is none more significant than the French Open.
Thomas Levet got the French blood stirring last year when he defeated Thorbjorn Olesen and Mark Foster to win his own national open. Amazingly Levet has hardly featured anywhere at all since, missing his last nine cuts and now resting at a lowly 244th in the world.
Lee Westwood heads the field in terms of world ranking and seems to have had an enjoyable and relaxing time since his win in Sweden and his perhaps unlucky 10th place finish at the US Open after his ball remained up a tree in the final round when momentum was building towards a potential win.
Westwood has not won this title but he lost a playoff in 2009 to Martin Kaymer, an indication of just how he might fare this week.
Kaymer, as indicated, is a previous winner and has played very well for much of this season. He is the 14th world ranked player at present but has hardly missed a cut all year and although not often contending in 2012 deserves serious consideration.
Justin Rose has played beautifully all season in the US and in his two visits to Europe in 2012 he finished runner-up at the BMW PGA Championship and 9th at the Volvo Match Play. He has credentials for sure.
Graeme McDowell might have been a little disappointing at the Irish Open but he was not bad either. His runner-up finish at the US Open was very impressive as was his runner-up finish in Spain at the Volvo World Match Play Championship.
Nicolas Colsaerts has moved his game to a new level in 2012 and played well enough in the US to be a serious chance to do well this week. Colsaerts finished 11th in the event last year and played well at the recent US Open after winning the Volvo Match Play a few weeks earlier.
Ian Poulter finished third to Westwood and Kaymer in 2009 and having enjoyed a break last week he will be recharged after a lacklustre US campaign in recent weeks. He was though 7th at the US Masters earlier in the year and 3rd at Bay Hill.
Australians in the field include Richard Green who has often played this event well. Green missed the cut in Ireland last week but he has played well on occasions in 2012 and on a golf course he obviously likes he might contend.
Robert Allenby makes the trip across from the PGA Tour hoping to get his game in order after a disappointing season in the US. Allenby won this event in 1996 and at this venue so it might be enough to get things headed back in the right direction.
Marcus Fraser, Andrew Dodt, Scott Strange, Brett Rumford, Mark Brown and Daniel Gaunt also have starts.
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