Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy believes this week's Alstom Open de France could prove crucial in shaping his season.

The Northern Irishman, who spent last week helping compatriot Graeme McDowell celebrate his stunning US Open Championship victory, has already landed his maiden US PGA Tour title this season at the Quail Hollow Championship.

But he missed the cut at both the Masters Tournament and Pebble Beach and believes a good showing at Le Golf National would be the perfect preparation for the third Major of the year, The Open Championship at St Andrews in two weeks time.

"This is a very big week for me," said the World Number Ten. "I had a week off last week and was going to play here and Loch Lomond but decided to focus on The Open at St Andrews and felt this week would give me better preparation as it can get hard and firey on this course.

"It has a bit of a links feel to it. This is a great course and great venue and there are a lot of World Ranking points available and money to move up The Race to Dubai rankings. I really want to get back into contention for that so there are some big weeks for me coming up starting here and then moving on to St Andrews and The 3 Irish Open, WGC and US PGA."

McIlroy believes McDowell's win can open the floodgates for European golfers, with no fewer than five different Europeans having won in the States already this year.

And the 21 year old admits McDowell's win has upped the bar in terms of his own expectations for the rest of the year.

"I caught up with him last week," he continued. "I went up to Rathmore where they had a big party for him on Wednesday night and then he came down to our house and stayed with us and we played a game of golf at Royal County Down. He is still buzzing from it.

"It is a fantastic time for European golf and British and Irish golf in particular.

"It was big. I don't want to be the only Irishman on the Ryder Cup team without a Major (As well as McDowell Padraig Harrington has three).

"I have played a lot with G-Mac over the years and to see what he has done lifts me. If G-Mac can win the US Open the way he did, I have played with him enough week in week out to know that I can go out on any given week and do the same thing.

"A lot of guys are doing well. Poulter won for the first time in the States, I won, Luke Donald is hitting form, Lee won in Memphis, Justin won and now G-Mac winning the US Open. There are a lot of guys playing well at the minute and that is great for The Ryder Cup. Hopefully we can carry that on to the next two Majors where British and European guys can kick on."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-11
T2MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-11
T2CAÑIZARES, AlejandroESP18-11
4MCILROY, RoryNIR18-10
5WILLETT, DannyENG18-8
T6WILSON, OliverENG18-7
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