Rory McIlroy chooses France over WGC-Bridgestone in run up to The Open

Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will miss the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this summer by playing at the 100th Open de France.
Rory McIlroy chooses France over WGC-Bridgestone in run up to The Open

The clash between the two tournaments has occurred following a re-working of the PGA Tour’s 2016 calendar to accommodate the Rio Olympics, where golf will return again to the programme.

Moving the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tournament forward a month has caused friction between the European and PGA Tours.

Four-time Major winner McIlroy won the prestigious Bridgestone event in Akron two years ago.

But now he feels playing at Le Golf National near Paris — the host venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup — from June 30-July 3 will help his Open chances at Royal Troon.

“I feel that playing in the 100th Open de France at Le Golf National will be the best way to get ready for The Open, which is just two weeks after the French Open,” McIlroy told European Tour.

“Le Golf National might not be a pure links course, but it is traditionally firm and fast and can throw up some tricky conditions during the French Open.

“It’s a great test of golf and I think playing there, as well as staying in Europe, will offer the best conditions to prepare for The Open at Troon.

“It will also be great to be part of the centennial edition of the French Open, which is one of the best events on the European Tour.

“I am sure there will be a special atmosphere at the tournament this year, so I’m looking forward to hopefully being a very big part of it.”

Meanwhile, Soomin Lee claimed his first European Tour title as the weather-affected Shenzhen International finally concluded yesterday.

After poor weather forced the players to return to the Genzon Golf Club for a fifth day, fog caused further delays but once play began, it was Lee who showed his class. Only one shot separated Lee, Alexander Levy, Lee Slattery, Joost Luiten, Brandon Stone, and Scott Hend at the start of the day.

Lee, who had five holes to play, birdied the 16th before an eagle on the 17th saw him pull away as he signed for a 71 that took him to 16 under.

The 22-year-old finished two shots clear of Luiten and Stone as he claimed the silverware on only his sixth European Tour start.

“I’m really happy,” Lee said in his post-tournament press conference.

“I was excited this weekend. First time a European Tour winner in just six events. It was really incredible.

“Yesterday I was really, really nervous.

“But we have a lot of break time and then this morning I felt really comfortable.”

Scott Hend, Lee Slattery and Alexander Levy shared fourth place at 13 under.

Welshman Bradley Dredge sat alone in seventh place at 11 under.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox