French Open 2016
Round 4 - Thongchai Jaidee gains four shot victory
July 4, 2016
Thongchai Jaidee produced an impressive display of front-running to win the French Open by four strokes, as Rory McIlroy failed to deliver a final-round surge on Sunday.
Starting the day with a two-stroke lead over McIlroy, the 46-year-old Thongchai birdied two of his first six holes and shot a 3-under 68 to finish on 11-under 273 at Le Golf National outside Paris, where the 2018 Ryder Cup will be staged.
For his eighth victory on the European Tour, the Thai player collected $650,000 - the biggest cheque of his career. He described his fourth victory over the age of 40 as his ''biggest win ever.''
''I had Rory two shots behind me but I tried to play my own game, hit a lot of fairways and greens,'' said Thongchai, ''and I knew this week I was putting well.''
Francesco Molinari finished in second place after shooting 66, the lowest round of the final day.
McIlroy couldn't get near Thongchai. He bogeyed No. 3 and made his only birdie on No. 14, shooting an even-par 71 to be a stroke behind Molinari in third place.
The fourth-ranked McIlroy regarded that as a success, considering he is in the middle of vast changes to his swing.
''I've got 10 days until the (British) Open starts,'' McIlroy said, looking ahead to the third major of the year at Royal Troon starting July 14. ''I'm going to be working every day to try and get better and will play a bit of links golf to work on the shots I need for Troon as well.
''Even though this week it didn't feel that good I'm obviously doing some things right.''
Brandon Stone, Alex Noren, Callum Shinkwin and Richard Sterne all qualified for the British Open after finishing in the top 12.
Round 3 - Thongchai Jaidee moves two clear
July 3, 2016
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand posted a 3-under round of 68 on Saturday to move 8-under and take a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the French Open.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and South Korea's Wang Jeung-hun posted 1-under 70s, having been level with Jaidee and two other players overnight.
Jaidee played consistently with three birdies.
''I had a good game plan today ... hit a lot of fairway,'' the 46-year-old Jaidee said. ''Three-under is an amazing round with the conditions and the wind gusting.''
By contrast, McIlroy's third round was hugely erratic as the four-time major winner had six birdies, three bogeys and one double-bogey.
McIlroy recovered to make five birdies on the back nine.
Wang's round was the opposite, featuring three bogeys on his way back to the clubhouse after he had set out with four birdies on the front nine.
Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger of Austria posted 70 and is one shot behind at 5-under, followed by South African Brandon Stone and four other players at 3-under.
Wiesberger is looking to become the sixth player to successfully defend the title at the Le Golf National course, which is hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup.
''I'm right up there,'' said Wiesberger, who recovered from a bogey-bogey start to make three birdies. ''I have played well on Sundays here, so everything is in place.''
Stone shared the overnight lead, but fell away with a 2-over 73 - including double bogey on the 18th hole.
Mikko Ilonen, the other overnight co-leader, fared even more badly.
The Finn hit a 4-over 75 - including a quadruple bogey on the fifth hole - to fall seven shots behind Jaidee and way out of contention.
There are four qualifying places for the British Open up for grabs. They will go to the leading four players, not otherwise exempt, who finish in the top 12 and ties.
Round 2 - Rory McIlroy joins leaders
July 2, 2016
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy roared back into contention at the French Open on Friday, sinking six birdies in a 5-under round of 66 to join a five-way share of the lead.
The Northern Irishman could have taken the overall lead at the Le Golf National course - which is hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup - but a poor tee shot on the 18th hole led to a bogey.
South Korea's Wang Jeung-hun matched McIlroy's 66, while Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand - who was one stroke behind overnight leader Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark - posted a 1-under 70 for a share of the lead. The other co-leaders, Mikko Ilonen of Finland and South African Brandon Stone, had 68s.
Bjerregaard is three shots behind after four bogeys in a 74.
''I played well. I kept the ball in play, I drove it well, hit fairways, hit a lot of greens. That's sort of what you need to do around this golf course,'' McIlroy said.
''I felt like I putted nicely. There were still a couple of putts that didn't quite drop but it felt good out there. I need two more days like that over the weekend to have a chance.''
McIlroy was five shots off the lead overnight after an opening round where he struggled with his swing.
''In a way it's nice to go into contention and not really be thinking about the result,'' said McIlroy, currently in the spotlight because of his decision to miss the Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus.
He is using the tournament as a warmup for the British Open, starts July 14 at Royal Troon in western Scotland.
McIlroy announced in April that he was skipping the Bridgestone Invitational to instead play at the French Open for the first time since 2010.
While the five-man leading group has 28 European Tour wins between them, the chasing pack is strong.
Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger of Austria was at four under alongside Nicolas Colsaerts and Anders Hansen, with Joost Luiten, Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters and Andy Sullivan a further shot back.
Wiesberger had five birdies in his first eight holes but his momentum was ended by a triple-bogey and a bogey-bogey finish.
There are four qualifying places for the British Open up for grabs They will go to the leading four players, not otherwise exempt, who finish in the top 12 and ties.
Round 1 - Rory McIlroy struggles with swing change
July 1, 2016
In the midst of drastic changes to his swing, Rory McIlroy shot a level-par 71 at the French Open to lie five shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard after the first round on Thursday.
McIlroy, currently in the spotlight because of his decision to skip the Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus, had four birdies and four bogeys around L'Albatros course at the Le Golf National, the 2018 Ryder Cup host.
''I've got about four or five swing thoughts out there at the minute,'' the fourth-ranked McIlroy said, ''so that's why I'm sort of happy with 71.''
McIlroy was asked what he was working on, and joked: ''Have you got 10 minutes?''
''My left-hand grip is too strong. Takeaway was going on the inside. Wasn't holding my right elbow properly at the top of my swing. Wasn't getting my right knee out of the way on the downswing ... I've been working on a few things.''
McIlroy said he is attempting to get his new swing ''all bedded in'' in time for the British Open, which starts July 14 at Royal Troon in western Scotland.
''I've got another hopefully three competitive rounds here,'' the Northern Irishman added. ''I've got all next week and then obviously a few days leading up to the Thursday of The Open.''
Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 66, helped by his first ever hole-in-one - a 7-iron from 202 yards downwind at No. 2. The 137th-ranked Dane was playing with a new set of clubs after his own was lost in transit, and also had five birdies.
''Maybe I should just keep these now and let the airline company keep my old ones,'' said Bjerregaard, who also is looking to claim one of the four qualifying places for the British Open up for grabs this week. They will go to the leading four players, not otherwise exempt, who finish in the top 12 and ties.
Thomas Pieters of Belgium, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria and Adrian Otaegui of Spain were a shot behind Bjerregaard after 67s. Otaegui is the only one of that quartet yet to have qualified for the British Open.