Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Open de France 2014 Betting Plan

With just over two weeks to go before The Open, we have a touney headlined by the US Open Champion and former winner here, Martin Kaymer as well as defending champion, Graeme McDowell. The US Open champion will be keen to put last week's effort behind him as he missed the cut for the second successive time at Gut Larchenhof. He'll like the Le Golf National much better this week!  Graeme McDowell heads out the 2nd favourite @ 12/1 or thereabouts but despite his obvious liking for the course I can't be getting excited about that price especially as he failed to take out the Irish Open last time out. Both he and Kaymer, couldn't deliver in their homelands so it may prove to be that this week gives them a much better opportunity to win without that added extra pressure to deliver in fornt of their adoring fans.. Between GMac and Kaymer, they have both won and bagged a further four TOP 20s in their last seven starts in Paris and they quite rightly are the men to beat. This course is a par-71, 7200 yards and is tough one,with the finishing holes claiming many a bogey and worse over the years.  The winning score will be in around –10 and should be good enough to claim the Edward George Stoïber trophy. Martin Kaymer obviously is the one they all have to beat and the German will be keen to hone his game before heading to Liverpool.  He may be worth backing  for those that like backing favourites but he does have fair competition.  French hopes lie mostly with Victor Dubuisson whom I backed last year at a staggering 100/1! He produced a Top20 finish but he’ll be expected to do better this time round should his shoulder hold up.

 A number of players have some solid form on this course including Damien McGrane,Graeme Storm,Richard Green and Soren Kjeldsen. Both Storm & Green prepared well for this week with a good showing in Germany last week but the others are out of form of late. Damien has grabbed five TOP20s in his ten visits to Paris, including a best finish of 3rd in 2007 behind eventual winner....... Graeme Storm! Indeed, Storm is a real horses for courses type for Le Golf National. Following his win, he has racked up four TOP15s and finished 21st as defending champion with just one missed cut. He was 3rd twelve months ago.  Recent form would suggest he won’t contend this week but he maybe worth a small play certainly for TOP10/20 on the back of a decent outing in Cologne. Richard Green has five TOP10s in his last nine starts on this course which cannot be ignored and the Swede has three TOP 10s his last six visits. These four players in conclusion ,emphasize the requirement for accurate play over power.

I backed previous winner Pablo Larrazabal last week in Germany and I see no reason why he can’t contend here again this week despite not taking out the BMW on Sunday. Just one of those days where a low score to come through the pack was inevitable.Like McDowell in Cork the week previously, Pablo couldn't hole a putt on Sunday and eventually lost that aggressiveness needed to see it out.Winner here in the past, but since his win he has missed the cut three times in the last 4 years and although he'll be very anxious to contend quickly again that recent course form is a concern.  Welshman, Jamie Donaldson finished sixth here twelve months ago and his game really suits this course, the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup.  Currently sitting in fourth for the Race to Dubai, Donaldson can get his putter to heat up here and collect his third European title. At 25/1, I’m leaning towards the Welshman over the Spaniard.

 One of France’s other rising stars amongst a few is Gary Stal. I tipped the 22 year old for a good showing at Fota and he didn’t let me down finishing in a tie for 8th albeit out of the place money. Only one missed cut in his last ten events, which has seen him finish no worse than 40th, he has also produced  four TOP30 finishes. Twice winner on the Challenge Tour, Stal is one to watch out for and he may just ride the French support here. He’ll be egged on by compatriots Romain Wattel, Julien Quesne, Raphael Jacquelin and Alex Levy, not to mention Gregory Bourdy and of course Victor Dubuisson and the other fifteen French players teeing it up here and we’ve seen a lot of French success on tour of late and how they do celebrate together. If he gets a good start he’ll get plenty of vociferous support to carry him on. A look at the TOP French Market may also be worth considering this week but I'm happy to back Gary in the outright marker this week on the back of the consistency shown the past few months @ 80/1

 Anders Hansen could be worth keeping onside here too as the Dane has shown a lot of consistency of late.  Does he like the course? Yes is the answer, as he too has a bunch of TOP 10s in his locker (four). Hasn’t missed the cut here in the past five years and is likely to be on the leaderboard throughout.

 Finally, former European Number One, Robert Karlsson is showing a lot of signs lately that his game is about to click and he will be of great interest to me if the price is right and I do believe that 50/1 is better than fair this week  Again, just one missed cut in his last nine events is encouraging and the few low rounds that he’s put together lately suggests he is about to challenge once again. This is his first visit here since 2010 and in his previous six visits he’s been inside the TOP 20 three times. In 2013 we saw the re-emergence of Henrik Stenson and this year we have seen Paul Casey make big inroads in returning to the top echelons of world golf, so it shouldn't be any surprise to see Karlsson following suit. He's motivated by the two and he will be eyeing big tournaments over the next couple of months to gain invaluable OWGR points. He's a play for this week.
Finally, a quick update on the "10towinsoon" idea. Eddie Pepperell went close in Spain a few weeks back and last week we had quite a number of contending and finishing in the top20. Betfair prices for the majority of these have been @ +500.00 and its worth noting that 7 of these are playing so well of late that they have given an opportunities for a nice back to lay profit. I'll be backing them again this week too but I'm sure we'll find a winner from the 10 soon!
Staking Plan: (6pts)
1.5 pts e/w J.Donaldson @ 25/1
0.5 pts e/w G.Stal @80/1
1.0 pts e/w R.Karlsson @ 50/1

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