French Open Golf 2013 Results 

One of the highlights for the golf players on the European Tour each year since its inception in 1972 is a stop in Paris for the French Open, otherwise known as the “Alstrom Open de France.” The event has a 107-year history, dating back to Frenchman Arnaud Massy’s inaugural win on the Paris golf course now known as La Boulie in 1906. In those days, the tournament was billed as the International French Omnium Championship.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the Open de France has become just as well known as the famous international golfers who have won its Silver Trophy, including Walter Hagen, Bruce Devlin, Steve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and more. Going into the 2013 edition, the top ranked golfers were America’s Matt Kuchar, England’s Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, and Germany’s 32-year old Marcel Siem, who was participating as the defending champion.

On Thursday, 4 July, the competition started off at Le Golf National with a field of 156 players. The par 71 course measured 7,331 yards and the prize pool totaled €3 million. However, the participants were vying not only for the trophy and a €500,000 payday, but also for advancement on the European Tour’s “Road to Dubai” money list. Automatic spots in the British Open Championship to follow in two weeks would be awarded to the top five golfers on the list not already exempt get an Open start.

Denmark’s Andres Hansen had a hot first round, shooting a 5-under score of 66 to take a one stroke lead over France’s Romain Wattel. Bunched up behind them at 3-under were nine other hopefuls, including South Africa’s Richard Sterne, Denmark’s Thomas Björn and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay. Former winner Siem turned in a miserable 78, while Poulter finished with a 2-over 73, Donald carded an even-par 71, Kuchar posted a 1-under 70 and 33-year old McDowell fared the best of the top ranked entrants with a 2-under 69.

After two rounds the field was reduced to 65 qualifiers, with only those shooting better than +4 making the cut. Siem only managed par on the second 18 and was dropped from the field. All of the highly ranked four made the cut, but Hansen just narrowly managed to hang on with a second round 78 and Wattel slipped up, too, with a 75. At the top of the leader board all alone was Zanotti after shooting another 68 for a 6-under total. Right behind him by a stroke were Sterne and Björn, with McDowell staying close with another 69 for a 4-under total.

It was the third round that separated the wheat from the chaff. Two of the three leaders from Day 2 lost their composure—Zanotti shooting 78 and Björn carding 74. Sterne turned in a par 71, which was good enough for a share of the lead with McDowell, who gained a stroke with a 1-under 70. Wattel, Hansen, Björn and Kuchar all shot over par to fall back further. Donald’s par brought him no help, and although Poulter had a good third round with a 69, he remained at par overall and five strokes behind the leaders.

The concluding day at La Golf National was a great one for the 97th Alstrom Open de France. As the BBC reported it, “McDowell and Sterne battled for most of the last round but the Northern Irishman was stronger over the closing holes as the South African faded.” Indeed, Sterne grabbed a one stroke advantage on the front nine with three birdies, but gave it all away with three bogeys on the back. The 2010 U.S. Open Champ, meanwhile, finished with his best round of the tournament, 67, for a -9 finish to the South African’s total of -5.

Both McDowell and Sterne advanced in the Road to Dubai rankings, reaching #2 and #4, respectively. England’s Graeme Storm and Spain’s Eduardo De La Riva shared the Open de France podium in third place at 4-under. Björn was the only one of the early leaders to finish in the top ten by tying for 8th with a final round 72 for a -1 total. Poulter, a 12-time winner on the European Tour, finished on 2-over after a final round of 73, with Donald on 6-over after posting a 75.

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