The European Tour is in Versailles this week for the HNA Open de France. A strong field including Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood has assembled at Le Golf National.
HNA Open de France Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times
The HNA Open de France is the first of three consecutive Rolex Series events on the European Tour, to be followed by the Irish Open at Ballyliffin and then the Scottish Open at Gullane. The Open Championship at Carnoustie will follow that.
The HNA Open de France has attracted an extremely strong field this year. Not only is it the third event on the European Tour’s lucrative Rolex Series, offering a total prize fund of $7,000,000, but the competition is also being held over the course that will play host to the Ryder Cup this September. For Europe’s best, this is a chance for a competitive outing on the layout where they will hope to wrest the Cup back from the USA in three months’ time.
Amongst those hopeful of making team Europe in September, and teeing it up this week are: Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Ian Poulter. From the USA, Justin Thomas will start. He’s hoping to gather some good intelligence for the Ryder Cup.
“I’m hoping to get some good vibes from it and learn a few things about the course. It is always good to help provide any information that might help our team prepare,” he said.
European Team Captain Thomas Bjorn will play this week, but will also be keeping a close eye on the action to see how those around the fringes of Ryder Cup qualification perform at Le Golf National. A good showing this week could be enough to sway the Dane when he comes to make his wildcard picks for Europe.
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. This year will see the 102nd running of the event.
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, Tommy Fleetwood closed with a superb 66 to finish on 12-under-par and take the title by one shot over Peter Uihlein. After his brilliant second place in the U.S. Open, Fleetwood is looking to become the first player to successfully defend a Rolex Series event.
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 26th time the course has been used as the venue for the Open de France.
It looks like being pretty hot in Paris this week with temperatures set to reach 33 degrees on Saturday.
Venue: Le Golf National, Paris, France
Date: Jun 28 – Jul 1
Course stats: par 71, 7,247 yards
Defending champion: Tommy Fleetwood (-12)
How to watch the HNA Open de France
Thursday 28 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 9.30am
Friday 29 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 9.30am
Saturday 30 – Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Sunday 1 – Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the HNA Open de France?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Players to watch:
Tommy Fleetwood – Last year’s champ had a quiet tournament in Germany last week but he’s clearly playing very well as his U.S. Open showing demonstrated. Look for him to feed off the good memories he will have from last year’s win here.
Thorbjorn Olesen – The Dane was tied third in this event last year and he’s been enjoying some great form so far this season. He won the Italian Open at the start of this month and was tied second in the BMW International Open last week.
Ross Fisher – The Englishman is on the fringes of an automatic qualifying place for the Ryder Cup and will be giving it everything to record a good result this week. He was tied seventh in the 2017 Open de France.
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.