Rolex Series: HNA Open de France Preview
The European Tour stops off at Le Golf National in Paris this week for the HNA Open de France - the third of eight separate lucrative Rolex Series events on this season's calendar.
This year's Ryder Cup venue will play host to an impressive field who will each battle it out for their share of a $7M prize fund - with European Ryder Cup points gained being multiplied by 1.5.
To help build up to what promises to be another great four days of golf on European soil, we've pulled together our preview of an event that was so impressively won by Tommy Fleetwood last year.
Catch the highlights of the 2017 European Tour POTY's win below:
Course: Le Golf National, Paris, France
Yardage: 7,247 yds
Opened in 1990 the course at Le Golf National is located southwest of central Paris and was designed by architects Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge, in collaboration with Pierre Thevenin.
There are many contrasting backdrops along the entire course layout and there's a very modern feel to Le Golf National. With water in play throughout, its closing stretch of 'risk-reward' golf will provide an awesome setting for Europe's tussle with the Americans later in the year, but the course also provides a stern, yet fair test in a stroke-play format.
As well as hosting this year's Ryder Cup, the Albatros course will also be the venue of the 2024 Olympic golf tournament.
Get the lowdown on Le Golf National below:
Former world number one and PGA champion Justin Thomas makes his first start on the European Tour this week and many will be expecting him to go well. The young Kentuckian will be accompanied by the aforementioned Fleetwood and home favourite Alexander Levy.
The Spanish trio of Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera-Bello each tee it up this week with Rafa in particular keen to secure the first win of 2018. Each of his compatriots have managed to enter the winner's circle this year while he last tasted victory at the AAM Scottish Open back in July 2017.
The Dane Thorbjorn Olesen won the previous Rolex Series event in Italy and will seek further glory at Le Golf National, while Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick will be seeking a first win of the year.
Who Wins It?
Obvious Chance: Jon Rahm
It's been a few months since we have seen Jon Rahm challenge at the top of the leaderboard so you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Spaniard has struggled this year. To the contrary, he has three wins already and sits 5th in the world rankings. He won't stay quiet for long.
Lively Outsider: Alexander Levy
The home favourite has been in good form in 2018 and he already has a win under his belt this year. The enigmatic Frenchman took the Trophy Hassan II title by a shot over Alvaro Quiros. Home support could drive Levy on to the most lucrative win of his career.
For a full rundown of the golfers making the trip to Paris this week, you can catch the field list and tee times here.
Who do you think could walk away with the spoils this week in Paris? Let us know below.
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