Winner’s Share – €500,000
Course – Le Golf National (Host of the 2018 Ryder Cup) (7,331 yards Par 71)
Our 2014 Picks – Jamie Donaldson (T5), Gregory Bourdy (T12), Anders Hansen (T48), Padraig Harrington (MC)
These are always the best months on the golfing calender, pitching up at one quality European track to the next. From Munich on Sunday to the gorgeous Le Golf National in Paris on Thursday.
It’s never nice seeing someone you seem to put half your mortgage on win when you’re not on them – which was the case when Larrazabal won last week. But we’re happy for him and would love to see him take things to the next level and challenge in one of the big 4.
Having attended the French Open in 2014, we’d like to think we know the track intimately. We spent so much time on the course and the one thing that stands out is the importance of finding fairways. They’re pretty tight and the rough makes finding some of the greens out there impossible. So first and foremost, your pick needs to be finding fairways. Added to this, there are plenty of water hazards and the course is exposed with wind sure to be getting up in spells.
It’s not the longest of yardages and McDowell winning back to back here shows it’s all about positioning off the tee, not how far down the fairway you are.
Inevitably we have to talk about GIR and the shots hit from the fairway – yes, your fairway game needs to be on song but from viewing it up close, we’re putting a lot more importance on the scrambling and putting side of things. McDowell and Jaidee in particular last year were almost dead-certs to get up and down every time they missed a green. Their final positions tell their own story.
Straight off the tee and confidence around and on the green is the order of the week.
DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time.
You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!
Brendan Steele (33/1 Bet Victor)
No surprises that we’re all over any PGA Tour star that comes over to Europe and Brendan Steele rightly gets our number 1 spot for the week.
He came over to France in 2011 and again in 2012, both times finishing in 7th place. That in itself is exciting. Since then he’s not set it alight over there but has regularly contended – to do that in America is no mean feat.
Last week at the Travelers Championship, Steele, after a couple of weeks break seemed to be striking the ball as good as when he finished 9th at Quail Hollow a couple of months before. Just in time for his trip to Paris. For the week he ranked T2 GIR, 26th putting, T12 driving accuracy. Feels a bit short in price but he’s going to have a big say this week.
Gregory Bourdy (55/1 BetFred)
We went there last year and we’re doing so again. We’ve seen glimpses of his best stuff in his last few events but has struggled to put it together for all 4 days – who can? Despite his very average finish in Munich last week we found it very interesting that he ranked 1st driving accuracy and 3rd GIR for the week.
Putting was where he let himself down. So that’s a negative coming into the French but he knows these greens well and the local support will be enough to get the confidence flowing and putts dropping.
He has 3 top 20’s here over the years and a best of 6th in 2010. It’s time he stamped his authority on his home Open!
Hennie Otto (150/1 William Hill)
Great bit of value this one. The South African has a tendency to pop up at the top end of leaderboards from time to time. On his day, he’s a machine tee to green. So his T20 last week was made more interesting when you factor in he was 8th driving accuracy and 9th GIR.
In his last 5 finishes in France he has two 7th places and another top 20. That shows he knows the course, knows the greens and has the ability to finish well.
Victor Riu (200/1 BetFred)
Bit more of a vested interest with our final pick as we watched plenty of him last year on the way to his 8th place. One facet of his game that particularly caught our eye throughout was his short game, not to mention the fact he was tied for 2nd going into the final round.
Okay he shot a 76, but to register a top 10 when your only two previous times in Paris where missed cuts is some going. Very much like Otto, he showed glimpses of what he is all about in Germany – shooting a 67 to tie for 5th after round 1 and ranking 9th GIR for all four days.
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows –
£2.50 e/w on Brendan Steele at 33/1 (Bet Victor)
£1.25 e/w on Gregory Bourdy at 55/1 (BetFred)
£0.75 e/w on Hennie Otto at 150/1 (William Hill)
£0.50 e/w on Victor Riu 200/1 (BetFred)
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.
Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)
European Tour: £55.50
PGA Tour: £-9.00
European Tour: £-90.62