Le Golf National, just outside of Paris, has long been one of the most popular courses on the European Tour. It has hosted the Alstom Open de France for the vast majority of the summers since 1991 and has been rewarded for its popularity, beauty and the challenge it poses by being given hosting duties for the 2018 Ryder Cup.
The popularity of this tournament – along with the big purse – have tempted some of Europe’s best players to fly back from America and include this event in their preparations for the Open which starts on July 16th. Lee Westwood, Francesco Molinari and two-time winner of this tournament Graeme McDowell will all be competing this week around the 7,331 yard stadium course. It’s not the longest track on Tour and is likely to play less than its yardage due to the hot weather in France which will allow any ball which hits the fairway to trundle on down towards the green.
If Francesco Molinari can use the roll on the fairways well and approach the rock hard greens sensibly, he will surely finish towards the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. The Italian has played on the PGA Tour for the majority of this season where he has collected some impressive statistics. He ranks number one in terms of driving accuracy and second for greens hit in regulation. However, he’s been unable to put a good enough week together to win since 2012. That could all change this week. He’s back in the world’s top 50 and playing as well as ever. The favourite for this week is the top pick at odds of 16/1 with Coral.
Chris Wood returned to the winners’ circle at the Lyoness Open last month. The tall Englishman’s victory was especially impressive given that he had not long returned from injury. The 27-year-old is not quite as accurate off the tee as Molinari but he is certainly good enough with his driver to hit the majority of fairways this week. His power should allow him to hit relatively short irons into the greens giving him the best possible chance of holding his approach shots on the putting surfaces. His putting stats are as good as they have been throughout his career so Wood is an interesting option to include in your staking for an each-way bet at 33/1 with Ladbrokes.
The final player to include in your betting this week is the winner of the Irish Open, Soren Kjeldsen. The 40-year-old ended a six year drought that week and followed it up by finishing in second place at the Nordea Masters. Kjeldsen’s task will be to give himself birdie putts this week because he is as good with the flat stick as anybody else in the field. Kjeldsen will need to hold his nerve around a course that features plenty of water ready to swallow up any errant shots but his experience and good form should see him in good stead to make Coral’s 40/1 look way too big.