2023 Open de France Preview, Picks & Analysis
VICTOR PEREZ will look to put his Ryder Cup disappointment behind him by winning the Open de France at Le Golf National.
Frenchman Perez, a winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, secured his third DP World Tour victory, and first on the Rolex Series, at the Abu Dhabi Championship at Yas Links in January and is now hoping to improve his highest finish in his home Open, a tie for 16th in 2019. He looked a likely qualifier for Luke Donald’s European team for much of the year but his best form deserted him when he needed it most.
“I love playing back home in France and it makes it even more special now I no longer live there,” the 31-year-old said.
“The feeling of going home and playing in front of French fans is difficult to describe, but it gives me an added incentive to play well and try to give them something to cheer about.
“Le Golf National is an amazing course and hopefully the people of France come out to watch what I’m sure will be a memorable week.”
PGA Tour stars Billy Horschel and Tom Kim also continue their stint in Europe.
Horschel, who became only the second American after Arnold Palmer to win the BMW PGA Championship in 2021, will make his first appearance in France and complete a three-week stretch on the DP World Tour, which also took in the Irish Open and the BMW PGA Championship.
“I’m so excited to finish off my time in Europe at the French Open,” he said. “To play two historic national opens in Ireland and France either side of the BMW PGA Championship is such a cool run of events.
“I obviously watched the 2018 Ryder Cup and I’ve also heard great things about the golf course from guys who have played it before, so I’m looking forward to the test.”
The seven-time PGA Tour winner will be joined by rising star Kim, who finished second at The Open earlier this year, the week after adding a tie for sixth to his Genesis Scottish Open record following his third place in 2022.
He said: “I’m really pleased with how I’ve played this year, having won on the PGA Tour and finished inside the top ten at two majors, and I’m hoping for a strong finish to the year in Europe as well."
The tournament also features Ryan Fox, Guido Migliozzi and Min Woo Lee.
Italy’s Migliozzi will defend the title he won in stunning fashion in 2022 when he came from five shots back to win by one thanks to a course record-equalling 62, and he is excited to return to the scene of one of European golf’s greatest days.
“The Cazoo Open de France is a truly historic event and I am so honoured to be returning this year as defending champion,” he said.
“You can feel the history when you arrive at Le Golf National. I will never forget watching the Ryder Cup in 2018 and to have added my name to the record books with my win last year is such a special feeling.
“That shot into 18 will live with me forever. It was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played and to cap it off like I did was amazing.”
Big-hitting Fox is back for the first time in four years and is looking forward to competing at a venue where his best finish is a sixth place on his tournament debut in 2017.
“There are not many things I can say about Le Golf National that haven’t already been said. It’s a magnificent golf course and a perfect tournament venue,” the newly crowned BMW PGA champion said.
“It’s great for spectators and it’s also a great place to play golf. It is challenging but can also be rewarding if you approach it in the right way.
“I haven’t played in France for a few years so I’m looking forward to getting back there and hopefully having a good week.”
Australia’s Lee is one of the brightest young talents in world golf, having won the ISPS Handa Vic Open and then, in 2021, went on to claim his first Rolex Series title in Scotland.
He has since broken into the top 50 in the world rankings after securing his best major championship finish to date, a tie for fifth in June’s US Open.
Lee said: “I love playing in events which have a lot of history and you don’t get much more historic than the Open de France. Some of the biggest names to ever play the game have won this event so there is a real incentive to put yourself alongside those guys.
“I’ve played well this season without getting a win, so I’d love to tick that off before reaching the end of the year.”
It was won in 2015 by Bernd Wiesberger, in 2016 by Thongchai Jaidee, in 2017 by Tommy Fleetwood, in 2018 by Alex Noren, in 2019 by Nicolas Colsaerts, and in 2022 by Guido Migliozzi.
Le Golf National is a magnificent par 71 that measures 7,247 yards. It features plenty of natural spectator areas, proper rough, narrow fairways, water hazards, and well-protected undulating greens. This is a real test.
Min Woo Lee is a world-class golfer who has done everything but win this season. He is a consistent performer with a great temperament. Le Golf National is a course that demands patience. Billy Horschel had a troubled season on the PGA Tour but has rediscovered something close to his best form - and he loves playing in Europe.
Min Woo Lee. Great ball striker
Billy Horschel. Back to something like his best
Tom Kim. A superstar
Five to Follow:
Min Woo Lee. Wonderful temperament
Billy Horschel. Adores playing in Europe
Tom Kim. Has no weaknesses
Victor Perez. Has a point to prove
Ryan Fox. Big hitter with an underrated short game
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