Thongchai Jaidee will defend the HNA Open de France against a strong field this week at Le Golf National outside Paris.

An impressive field will assemble at Le Golf National near Paris this week for the 101st running of the HNA Open de France. Thongchai Jaidee defends HNA Open de France and Alex Noren, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Martin Kaymer will all play.

As the second event in the inaugural Rolex Series, this event carries a large purse and this has attracted some star players to Europe. 2015 French Open winner Bernd Wiesberger’s name is on the start sheet, as are those of Russell Knox, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Matt Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan.

The French Open is the oldest national open on continental Europe. It was first contested at La Boulie in 1906 and was won by home player Arnaud Massy. He took his national title three more times, lastly in 1925 when he was 48-years-old.

The tournament has been a fixture on the European Tour schedule since 1972. It’s one of the most prestigious events on the circuit and has been won by Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie amongst others. Last year, Thongchai Jaidee won with Francesco Molinari in second place. At 46, Jaidee was the oldest player ever to win the Open de France. Italy’s Molinari has been second in the French Open on three occasions. He will be hoping to go one better this time out.

The course at Le Golf National was designed on flat farmland near the Palace of Versailles. The layout is the work of architect Hubert Chesneau and construction began in 1987. In 1990 the course was open for play. This will be the 25th time the course has been used as the venue for the Open de France. L’Albatros Course at Le Golf National will play host to the Ryder Cup in 2018.

The weather forecast isn’t great with rain looking likely on the first three days of the tournament.

Venue: Le Golf National, Paris, France
Date: June 29 – July 2
Course stats: par 71, 7,249 yards
Purse: $7,000,000
Defending Champion: Thongchai Jaidee (-11)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 9.30am
Friday 30 – Sky Sports 4 from 9.30am
Saturday 1 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm
Sunday 2 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm

Player Watch:

Tommy Fleetwood – Currently second on the Race to Dubai, Fleetwood has been enjoying a fine season. He won in Abu Dhabi, was second in the WGC-Mexico Championship and fourth in the US Open. He was tied sixth last week in Germany.

Tommy Fleetwood at Birkdale:

Francesco Molinari – He was runner-up in the BMW PGA Champs at Wentworth and recorded a top-25 in the St. Jude Classic on the PGA Tour. He loves this event and has three times finished runner-up, including last year. He’ll look to go one better this time around.

Bernd Wiesberger – Enjoying a supremely solid season with no missed cuts on the European Tour to this point. He has five top-five finishes to his name this year, including victory in the Shenzhen International. He won this event in 2015.

Key hole: 18th. A 471-yard par 4 with water all down the left side for the tee shot. The approach must carry all the way to the putting surface over water. A player requiring par to win upon reaching this hole will have his work cut out.