European Tour Betting Preview: Open de France
This week’s European tour event is at a venue that should be very recognizable to the golfing world: Le Golf National, the host of the 2018 Ryder Cup. The French Open has been played at this location the last 20 years or so. It is a challenging venue as we saw at the Ryder Cup last year, with the winners regularly finishing single digits under par.
The field this week isn’t stellar following last week’s Rolex Series event. Defending champ Noren, Erik Van Rooyen, and Thomas Pieters headline the event. Noren, Martin Kaymer and Andy Sullivan are the course history standouts.
The finishing stretch of this course has lots of water and could produce fireworks on the weekend. The course isn’t very long, playing only 7,245 yards, and looking at the winners list (Noren, Jaidee, Graeme McDowell x2), it doesn’t lead me to believe that driving distance is a key statistic. That makes me think this will be a second shot golf course, and iron play will be at a premium, so I’ll be looking at Green in Regulation (GIR) percentage, Strokes Gained (SG): Approach, and Par 4 scoring (with only 3 par 5s this week). Last year, Noren finished 12th in SG: Approach, and runner-ups Julian Suri and Russell Knox finished 2nd and 7th respectively. They all also finished top-10 in GIR as well.
Jordan L. Smith: Smith has been back on form the last few events with three straight top-25s, including a 5th-place finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He has made two starts at this event the last two years with relative success, a 21st and 30th. On the year, he leads the European Tour in GIR percentage and is 12th in SG:Approach. Last year, Smith finished second in this event in par 4 scoring, so if he can just clean up the par 3s and par 5s he should be able to compete with his stellar iron play.
Bet: To Win (+2000)
Andy Sullivan: Sullivan is admittedly not coming into this week in great form, but he seems to love this course. He has made five straight cuts at the event and finished top-30 each time, with a pair of top-six finishes in 2015-16. The course isn’t a true links course but has a linksy feel, and Sullivan plays very well at links courses. He is 34th in SG: Approach on the year for the European Tour.
Bet: To Win (+4800)
Jason Scrivener: Scrivener has not played that well at this course historically, with only two of four made cuts and no top-30 finishes, but statistically he is a great fit it would seem. He ranks 5th on the European Tour in SG:Approach this year and 27th in par 4 scoring. We saw him play very well a few weeks ago at a weaker event in the Open de Espana. The field this week matches up well to that one, and maybe that makes him more comfortable knowing that he can compete without the elites of the Euro Tour playing.
Bets: To Win (+6000), Top-5 (+1200)
Pedro Figueiredo: Figueiredo has a stretch of four straight cuts leading into last week’s event where he missed the cut, but he’s still coming in with solid form. Even though he missed the cut last week, he managed to rank 41st in SG:Approach last week over two events. He ranks 17th on the European Tour in SG:Approach for the year and definitely could do some damage in this weaker field.
Bet: Top-20 (+1000)