Cazoo Open de France
New Zealand's Ryan Fox, at a closing price of 50-1, began the final round three shots behind leader Ludvig Aberg and looked out of contention after carding a triple-bogey seven on the third but shot 8 under par over his last 13 holes for a closing 67.
An 18-under-par total gave Fox a one-shot victory at the BMW PGA Championship, for his fourth DP World Tour victory, over playing partner Aaron Rai and England’s Tyrrell Hatton. Rai barely missed a long eagle putt on the 18th that could have given him the title or at least forced a playoff.
Jon Rahm, who had been runner-up in his two previous appearances at Wentworth, carded an erratic 68 to claim fourth place at 16 under as seven members of Europe’s Ryder Cup side packed the top 10, with Rory McIlroy surging through the field with a 65.
Aberg, the 54-hole leader, slumped to final-round 76 and finished T-10. The talented young Swede has played only 10 events as a professional, but this was his first time holding an overnight lead heading into Sunday's final round and the pressure may have gotten to him a bit.
Only one European Ryder Cup team member, Robert MacIntyre (33-1), will tee it up this week in Paris at the Cazoo Open de France. With the Ryder Cup next week, most of the team will take the week off, but we still have a solid field with some DP World Tour regulars and international players.
Fox (16-1), now ranked No. 31 in the OWGR, has finished first and third in the last two weeks. Nevertheless, he is not the tournament favorite as Tom Kim (10-1) will stay in Europe for another week. Min Woo Lee (12-1) and last week's co-runner-up Rai (16-1) follow on the odds board.
Billy Horschel (20-1) is also playing in Europe for the third consecutive week.
Many DP World Tour regulars who just missed out on the Ryder Cup will play this week in Paris, including Alexander Bjork (22-1), Thomas Detry (25-1), Jordan Smith (28-1), Romain Langasque (30-1), Rasmus Hojgaard (33-1), Yannik Paul (33-1), Victor Perez (35-1), Antoine Rozner (40-1) and Thorbjorn Olesen (40-1).
The Open de France is the oldest national open in Continental Europe and was conceived in 1906. That event was won by Arnaud Massy, who remains the only French male golfer to win a major championship — the 1907 British Open. Wins for multiple major-winning, legendary golfers, such as James Braid (1910), Walter Hagen (1920), Bobby Locke (1952, 1953) and Byron Nelson (1955), add further prestige to the early history of the tournament.
It has also been part of the European Tour schedule since its inception in 1972. In 2019, the tournament took place in October. From 2014 to 2018, it was one of the Open Qualifying Series events for the British Open with the leading three (four in 2016) players, who had not already qualified, qualifying for the Open. With a new sponsorship that commenced in 2022 (Cazoo) the prize fund was €3,000,000. Nevertheless, France’s national open still carries prestige and boasts a cavalcade of Hall of Famers on its past winners list, including Seve Ballesteros (three wins), Nick Faldo (three wins), Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen (two wins), Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal. Other recent winners include former major champions Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell (two wins).
Le Golf National has hosted this tournament every year but two (1999 and 2001) since it was opened in 1991. It hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup and will be the golf venue for the 2024 Olympic Games. This track usually plays as one of the more difficult layouts on the European Tour. The 7,247-yard, par-71 stadium course is a test for the very best golfers with a premium on accurate driving and, in particular, approaches to the difficult, undulating greens.
With much of the course exposed and water dangerously in play on around half of the holes, it mixes aspects of U.S. resort-style golf and holes that don’t look dissimilar to what you’d find on many British links courses.
The rolling fairways are about average in width overall, with some very narrow and others particularly generous. They’re defended by water on seven holes, some strategically placed bunkering on others and are framed by large mounds that can be home to some gnarly rough.
The Bentgrass greens (12.6 stimpmeter) are well bunkered and have many run-offs leading into swales and hollows that are not easy to get up and down from, with the course ranking among the 10 most challenging courses on which to scramble around on the DPWT. Water protects seven of them, including the opening two holes, and makes for a furious finish, in play on three of your final four holes.
Open de France Recent History
2022: Guido Migliozzi (-16/268); 80-1
2021: Canceled due to COVID-19
2020: Canceled due to COVID-19
2019: Nicolas Colsaerts (-12/272); 100-1
2018: Alex Noren (-7/277); 16-1
2017: Tommy Fleetwood (-12/272); 22-1
2016: Thongchai Jaidee (-11/273); 66-1
2015: Bernd Wiesberger (-13/271); 33-1
2014: Graeme McDowell (-5/279); 12-1
2013: Graeme McDowell (-9/275); 25-1
2012: Marcel Siem (-8/276); 70-1
2011: Thomas Levet (-7/277); 140-1
2010: Miguel Angel Jimenez (-11/273); 80-1*
*Playoff win over Alejandro Canizares and Francesco Molinari
Alexander Bjork (20-1, BetMGM)
Bjork has two runners-up and six other top-10-or-better finishes in 20 events this year on the DPWT courtesy of leading the tour for Strokes Gained: Approach.
The Swede finished third in 2017 and eighth in 2018 in Paris.
Thorbjorn Olesen (35-1, DraftKings)
Olesen has a solid record at Le Golf National, with two top-5s including second in 2011 and third in 2017.
He also returns to the course where he dominated Jordan Spieth (5-and-4) in Sunday singles during the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Connor Syme (45-1, BetRivers)
Syme has missed the cut here on both appearances.
However, you cannot ignore the recent form, finishing fourth in Northern Ireland, third in the Swiss Alps, seventh in the Irish Open and 10th last week at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship.
Adrian Otaegui (45-1, BetMGM)
Otaegui is fourth on the DPWT for Strokes Gained: Approach.
The Spaniard has finished in the top 13 here in three of his last four appearances and he led the field in Driving Accuracy here last year and leads the DPWT in that category this season.
Jorge Campillo (66-1, BetMGM)
Campillo finished eighth here in 2018.
To win at Le Golf National, you have to be good at Scrambling and save tough pars and he ranks ninth in the category on the DPWT (the above-mentioned Bjork and Otaegui rank first and second, respectively).
Julien Brun (80-1, FanDuel)
Frenchman Brun was 13th here last year.
Brun had two top-7 finishes earlier in the season and ranks 12th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 16th for Scrambling.