• He's looking for a third consecutive Open de France title
• Has almost dropped out of the world top 50 after poor 2015
Ten-time European Tour winner Graeme McDowell will be hoping that returning to the scene of his two most recent professional victories can spur him on to a strong couple of weeks in Scotland.
The 35-year-old has been in dreadful form throughout 2015 so far, with only one top ten finish in 14 starts at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January, with his best aside from that a 26th place showing at the RBC Heritage in April.
The 2010 US Open winner’s decline in form has seen him plummet down the world rankings to No.48 – he was No.15 at the start of the year – and a return to Le Golf National may be just what the McDowell needs to find the top of his game again.
The course, located just outside Paris, is the host venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup and that is possibly reflected in the fact that seven of the victorious European team from Gleneagles in 2014 will be paying a visit to the course: McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher, Jamie Donaldson, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn.
There's an extra incentive for players in Paris too as three players who finish in the top ten and ties at the tournament, who are not already exempt, will earn places at the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews.
Selected groups (local times)
8am – Gregory Havret, Stephen Gallacher, Marc Warren
Frenchman Havret has failed to break into the top ten in the 14 European Tour events he’s played in this year, with a best of T11 at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He’ll be teeing off with Scottish duo Gallacher and Warren – two of only four Scots to have qualified for the Open at St Andrews at this moment in time. Gallacher has enjoyed little success in his events on the PGA Tour this year, while Warren’s best finish in 2015 was a runner-up spot at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
8.30am – Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Martin Kaymer
This trio have also endured a year of struggle so far. Dubuisson has missed the cut in five of his 11 events in 2015 with only one top ten – a fourth-placed finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Donaldson has fared slightly better, with three top tens in Abu Dhabi, the Honda Classic and the Players Championship, while Kaymer’s poor form continued with a missed cut at his home BMW International Open last week.
1.30pm – Graeme McDowell, Alexander Levy, Lee Westwood
McDowell will be looking to make it a third consecutive win at Le Golf National and he’s been partnered with Levy, who has two top three finishes at the Volvo China Open and the Nordea Masters, and Westwood, who has won on the Asian Tour at the Indonesian Masters and has only missed two cuts in 12 events this year.
Graeme McDowell :: Three in a row?
Can Graeme McDowell win the Open de France for a third successive year? Leave your thoughts below.