A world class field descends on the 2018 Ryder Cup venue this week for the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National.
With three more weeks of competitive golf to play before the Open, no less than 23 Ryder Cup Players and 12 of the World’s top 50 tee up this week in the hopes of getting a European victory under their belt.
Last week’s winner Andres Romero beat off a strong field which including seeing off Masters Champion Sergio Garcia by a single shot – all the more impressive given he was a tournament invite that hasn’t had playing rights on the European Tour since 2012.
Romero makes our job a little harder given the unpredictability of his victory, but unlikely heroes aside - who should be in your fantasy golf team this week?
Note: Our Staff Writer Michael Catling played the course a number of weeks ago, and he reckon's the course suits someone who hits it high and can stop it quickly on the greens.
Fantasy Picks: HNA Open De France (Price descending)
Past Champions in the field: Thongchai Jaidee ('16), Bernd Wiesberger ('15), Graeme Mcdowell ('14, '13), Marcel Siem ('12), Martin Kaymer ('09), Pablo Larrazabal ('08), Graeme Storm ('07), Jose Maria Olazabal ('01)
Alex Noren: Fantasy Price £13m
The World No.8 is another player to have taken a week off since his missed cut at the US Open, but given that he recently won the BMW PGA Championship to gain his 5th European Tour title in under a year – we wouldn’t write him off. He was also 10th at The Players and T5 at the WGC Dell Match Play, and has played a variety of events on both tours this year. If you aren’t sure, his 10-under-par course record 62 a few weeks ago at Wentworth is probably all you need to know about the calibre of Alex Noren.
Jon Rahm: Fantasy Price £12m
The young Spaniard has taken the PGA Tour by storm this year, and despite two missed cuts in a row, he now returns to Europe second in the PGA Tour rankings for number of top 10s this year. Although he only turned pro in 2016, the 22-year-old has already won on the PGA Tour and is the World . He's a fiery character and given his last two results is a bit of a wildcard pick, but he's proven he can play at the top so it may be that a week off will help Rahm this week.
Francesco Molinari: Fantasy Price £12m
You wouldn’t have been alone if you put bets on Molinari winning the US Open, but instead he went home early and has been taking a rest following his missed cut. But given the rest of his season, we wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back this week and wins. Molinari came incredibly close to victory at the BMW PGA Championship, finishing in second at Wentworth a couple of weeks ago. He had been T6 the week prior, and followed it up with a T24 finish at the St Jude Classic the week before that.
Bernd Wiesberger: Fantasy Price £11.5m
2015 champion Wiesberger was hurt by a third round 74 last week, but his 68 in the BMW International Open’s fourth round put him in a tie for 20th place by the end of the tournament. It’s been a pretty consistent run for the four-time European Tour winner, who finished T16 at the US Open, has already picked up a victory this year at the Shenzhen International in April.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: Fantasy Price £11.5m
It’s been a bit of an up and down season for Matt Fitzpatrick, but there’s been flickers of really good things that make us think he’s on the edge of a breakthrough. He struggled over in the US, missing the cut at both the RBC Heritage and Players, but he finished 32nd and T35 in the Masters and US Open respectively, and was T2 at the Nordea Masters at the beginning of June.
Thomas Pieters: Fantasy Price £11.5m
Pieters hasn't played a lot since accepting temporary status on the PGA Tour, but despite being a risky bet we have a feeling he could be back to his best this week. In his last four tournaments he's gone T4 at the Masters, T14 at the BMW PGA Championship, but missed the cut in both of his last two events (Memorial and the US Open). He was T16 the last time he played in this event.
Chris Wood: Fantasy Price £11m
In his last four starts Chris Wood has two top5s, including a 2nd place finish at the Nordea Masters in the first week of June. The Englishman hasn't performed well in either of the majors, but he's had a week off to rest and given that he's back on the European Tour it could go well for him this week.
Tommy Fleetwood: Fantasy Price £10.5m
Fleetwood has already notched up a victory in 2017 in Abu Dhabi, and if it wasn't for a disappointing level par final-round at the US Open, he could have made it two. Fleetwood has moved to a career best of World No.21, and given he's already had two runner-up finishes this year and was 6th at the BMW International Open last week, we'd certainly not advise you to overlook Tommy Fleetwood.
Ross Fisher: Fantasy Price £10m
Fisher has had a week off following a disappointing MC at the US Open, but Fisher has been a pretty solid fantasy bet most of the season. In his last eight starts prior to the second major of the year he’d had five top 10s (including three top 5s). He’d missed one cut (at the Players) in that time, but his last two finishes prior to the US Open were T22 at Memorial and T9 at the BMW PGA Championship.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Fantasy Price £10m
He may be the World No 102, but Aphibarnrat is a three-time European Tour winner and is 14-under-par combined for his last three tournaments. He's finished 12th-41st-14th in his last three, and we think he's ready to challenge for his first title since 2015.
Graeme McDowell: Fantasy Price £9m
The Open De France two-time champion has been consistent all season but will be undoubtedly frustrated never to have really been in contention on the final day. In 13 starts he's missed just two cuts but had nine top-30 finishes. It's a bit of a risk, so we'll leave it up to you if you think G-Mac can deliver this week.
Ian Poulter: Fantasy Price £8m
Since he regained his Tour card, Poulter has picked up a bit of form. He was 2nd at the Players Championship, and hasn't finished worse than T40 in his last five events. There are rumours Poulter has a new set up clubs to put in play this week, and he's definitely carrying a bit of confidence.
Alex Levy: Fantasy Price £8m
He notched up a victory on the European Tour in April at the Volvo China Open, and now Levy will return to the HNA Open de France for the sixth time. Excluding his missed cut at the US Open, Levy has had a win and two top 10s in his last six starts, so we’d say he could be up there this week.