In form golfers converge on French Open
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2008 Open de France | Preview | 24 Jun 2008
This week’s Open de France Alstom at Le Golf National in Guyancourt outside of Paris, begins a run of six consecutive events for Europe’s leading players where prizemoney of a minimum €3.5 million is played for each week.
This week’s event is followed by the European Open, the Scottish Open, the Open Championship, the Players Championship and the WGC Bridgestone Open, each offering the chance for significant money list improvements.
The Albatross Course at Le Golf National was opened in 1991 and designed by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge and has been a long-time host to this event.
The defending champion is England’s Graeme Storm who won his first European Tour event after nearly seven years of trying, his last round of 66 securing him victory by one shot over Soren Hansen.
This year the field is stacked with many in form golfers, perhaps Robert Karlsson, the most conspicuous of those given his remarkable run of top five finishes in his past six starts.
Karlsson finished 4th at his last start at the US Open, which followed a series of good finishes at the Masters and in European Tour events and with a week to recover from the pressure cooker of contention at the US Open, he should again do well again.
Lee Westwood contended at the US Open before recording his best finish in major championship golf with a third. On that basis alone he must be a serious chance to win this week. This is one European Tour title that has escaped Westwood but his run of consistent form in 2008 suggests that this is his best chance.
Miguel Angel Jimenez was also brilliant at the US Open where he finished in a share of 6th place. He was a little disappointing last week but that might have been a reaction to the rigours of so much intense golf of late and he might be better for it this week. His form generally in 2008 has also been good and although he has not played particularly well at this venue he must be considered a chance.
Martin Kaymer continues to blossom on the European Tour, his great win in Germany last week further evidence of that. In his first time to this event last year, and in his rookie season on the European Tour, he finished 7th, the only concern about this week being whether or not he can back up such a significant win in his homeland just a few days ago.
Anders and Soren Hansen are both playing well and have form at this venue while 2006 winner, John Bickerton, served notice when third last week that his game is in good enough shape to win this event again.
Australasians in the field are headed by Richard Green who finished runner up to Jean-Francois Remesy in 2004. Peter O’Malley showed glimpses of better form when leading in round one of last week’s BMW, while Mark Brown, Scott Strange, Marcus Fraser, Scott Barr, Matthew Millar, Gareth Paddison, Rick Kulacz round out the Australasian challenge.