Cape Town - Alexander Levy will lead a strong home contingent at this
year's Open de France - the third Rolex Series event of the year - when he
returns to Le Golf National for continental Europe's oldest national open from
June 28-July 1.
France will be well represented with Levy joined by Mike
Lorenzo-Vera, Grégory Bourdy, Romain Wattel, Grégory Havret, and Raphaël
Jacquelin, who are all now confirmed to tee it up at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue,
as they bid to become the first French player to hoist the trophy since Thomas
Levet's superb one-shot victory seven years ago.
Levy, who currently sits at 46th in the Official
World Golf Rankings, claimed his fifth European Tour title - and his third in
three years - at the Trophée Hassan II just two weeks ago, overcoming Spaniard
Alvaro Quiros to give his hopes of a home appearance in the Ryder Cup in
September a significant boost.
"It's a really nice golf course and, for me, one of the
best we play," said the 27-year-old. "I can't wait for the Open de France
because it's one of the best tournaments of the year.
"Being at home provides extra pressure for us but it's nice
to be in front of your fans. We know we have the Ryder Cup in September, so
this year will be a little bit special."
Lorenzo-Vera, who finished tied third at least year's
event, is hoping to compete in the upper echelons of the leaderboard once more
at Le Golf National in June.
"I had a very good week at the Open de France last year and
felt like the golf course really suited my game. It was my best finish at my
home Open and I would love to go one better and actually win it.
"It would be a dream come true and I can't wait to get out
on the course again this year."
Four-time European Tour winner Bourdy said: "The Open de
France is a great tournament and, being a Frenchman, it means a lot to me.
Playing at Le Golf National when the course will host the Ryder Cup later in
the year is really exciting and I'm sure it will be a good event.
"The course offers a real challenge, it's a brilliant venue
and I'm sure it will be in great condition."
Wattel, who secured his maiden European Tour title at last
year's KLM Open, added: "It's always an event we look forward to and one that
is special to all of us. The course is fantastic, the crowds are great, and I
think it will be an amazing tournament leading into the Ryder Cup."
Havret, who defeated then world No 3 Phil Mickelson
in a play-off for the 2007 Scottish Open, believes the tournament will give
fans a taste of what to expect at The Ryder Cup in September.
"I'm looking forward to it even more than previous years.
It's going to be very exciting as the Ryder Cup is coming soon. The Open de
France will be the last tournament at Le Golf National before this huge event,"
"The Open de France has been getting bigger since last year
and the new sponsorship via the Rolex Series has helped a lot. It's going to be
very exciting for French crowds. I hope The Ryder Cup will be noisy, exciting
and the French Open will be a good preview for that."
Jacquelin added: "This event is steeped in
history and it's always an honour to play at the Open de France."