How potential Ryder Cup players did at the French Open
At this week’s French Open, the golf world got an early look at Le Golf National, which will host the much-anticipated 2018 Ryder Cup this fall. Several prospects who could make the USA or European Ryder Cup teams also got an early chance to play the course in a competition. Alex Noren shot a final-round 67 to win the tournament at 7-under, one stroke ahead of Russell Knox.
MORE: Ryder Cup team standings
Here's a look at how potential Ryder Cup golfers fared at the French Open:
Scores: 4-under: 70, 70, 69, 71
Breakdown: The world's No. 2 golfer arrived at the French Open in fourth place in the Ryder Cup USA point standings and left with a top-10 finish at the French Open. He shot a final-round 71 on Sunday to finish three strokes back of Noren. Thomas – the only American in the field currently ranked in the top 8 of the Ryder Cup USA standings – was consistent all week, recording a 70, 70, 69 and 71.
For the tournament, Thomas had 15 birdies, six bogeys and two double bogeys. His best shot of the tournament may have come on Sunday, when he nearly holed out from a bridge on the 18th hole. He’ll go back overseas in two weeks for the Open Championship at Scotland's Carnoustie Golf Links.
Scores: 2-under: 74, 67, 71, 70
Breakdown: Hatton entered the weekend in first in the Ryder Cup Europe’s European Points standings and he finished tied for 16th at 2-under. After shooting an opening round 3-over 74, the Englishman made a major day-over-day improvement by shooting a 4-under 67 on Friday thanks to five birdies on the day.
Scores: 7-under: 73, 72, 65, 67
Breakdown: Noren picked up his first European Tour win of the season after a pair of third-place finishes earlier in the year. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for his Ryder Cup candidacy. He was fifth place in Ryder Cup Europe’s European Points standings at the beginning of the week, just over 20,000 points behind Francesco Molinari and roughly 40,000 behind Tommy Fleetwood.
Noren started the week slowly, sitting at 3-over after Friday, but he got a feel for Le Golf National to finish strong on Saturday and Sunday. In the third round, Noren had seven birdies in the first 14 holes, lighting up the course to make a serious comeback. If Noren’s performance this week is any indication, he could be a major asset for the European team this fall.
Scores: 5-over: 74, 73 (missed cut)
Breakdown: Despite his ranking in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking and third in Ryder Cup Europe’s European Points standings, Fleetwood had a challenging trip to Paris. He shot a a 3-over 74, followed by a 2-over 73, resulting in him missing the cut. His front nine in the first round included a double bogey and two bogeys, and he never recovered. In the first four holes on Friday, Fleetwood went bogey, bogey, par, double bogey, and that was the story of his week.
Scores: 5-under: 70, 69, 68, 72
Breakdown: Rahm is now third in Ryder Cup Europe’s World Points standings after finishing tied for fifth at the French Open, just two strokes behind Noren. Rahm steadily improved each of the first three days, improving by a stroke each round, before finishing with a 1-over 72.
Rahm closed out the third round strong with six birdies in the final 15 holes, including the 17th and 18th holes, but he was unable to carry that momentum over to Sunday.
Scores: 4-under: 72, 70, 64, 74
Breakdown: Sergio was all over the place at Le Golf National, sitting at even par through the first two rounds, then shooting a tournament-best, 7-under 64 on Saturday, followed by a 74 in the final round. He’s now 12th in Ryder Cup Europe’s World Points standings and 16th in European Points.
Scores: E: 71, 69, 72, 72
Breakdown: Fitzpatrick is ninth in both Ryder Cup Europe’s World Points and European Points standings after finishing tied for 27th at even par at the French Open. He only shot below par once all week – a 2-under 69 on Friday, thanks to a strong back nine.