Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Open de France 2018 - Le Golf Nacional

Open de France Market Leaders

Justin Thomas headlines the Open de France this week outside Paris as the Rolex Series event attracts the leading European players looking to make strides towards a Ryder Cup place to be played at this week's venue come September. The American will be on the US team and makes a rare appearance outside the PGA Tour as he hopes to get the low down and perhaps send a warning shot on his opponents by winning here. He arrives though after a poor effort last week at The Travelers but it appears his grandmother was more concerned about him getting well. It seems JT was feeling a bit under the weather last week. Whether he's up for an out and out assault here on a course that he's not familiar with remains to be seen but given circumstances, he's left out of any considerations for a bet here.

As with the Rolex Series events now, we expect improved quality of fields and despite Rory McIlroy & Justin Rose not including in their schedules, we do have a strong field here which has boosted the OWGR SOF yet again here. OWGR guru, Nosferatu (@vc606 ) tweeted this week the uprising SOF trend of the ODF from 2015 SOF of 35 to a forecasted SOF this week of 48 points to the winner. To date, the Rolex Series are going the way of the more "successful" players and perhaps based on these stats alone, that's where we should be looking this week.

Jon Rahm has started a trend of returning to Europe and picking up victories, and he'll be expecting to go well here, one week ahead of defending his Irish Open title next week. He finished 10th here last year so course experience will count. I'd prefer to see him arrive with some recent form under his belt first.

Tommy Fleetwood defends this week. He didn't click last week in Koln, perhaps tired and let's be frank, not bothered, following his US Open heroics the week before, but he's back with his caddy & team this week looking to kick on in the Race to Dubai and prepare for the upcoming Rolex Series and British Open. (he will miss Ballyliffin next week). We'll see a different Tommy this week than last and despite me backing him last week at half the price of this week, I'm leaving Tommy out in favour for some more value further down. His 4 MCs here suggest that perhaps he's not a straightforward bet.

Alex Noren, Sergio Garcia, Tyrell Hatton, and Rafa Cabrera Bello are all leading contenders this week where accurate ball striking will be required. With talk of Ryder Cup sure to be topical this week, its Garcia that may be incentivised the most of these four here. Noren on the other hand, will be keen to get another win following very strong PGA performances the past couple of months and it was only the Swede on this sub-list that offered any bit of value, albeit quite small.

The Shortlist Analysis

I did struggle to make the shortlist smaller and eventually ended up with 20 players in total, of which I deemed 6 to be of value. As with all weekly golf betting events, unless the value is gobbled up on Monday afternoon, the Wednesday drift on Betfair is eagerly awaited for those lower down the market and its possible that some of the 14 others could represent value in the win only market. Martin Kaymer, Matt Wallace, Ryan Fox and Jacques Kruyswijk completed my 6 value shorties along with aforementioned Rahm & Noren. 

Of the others, Ian Poulter would of course be a go to player this week but he's way too short in my opinion. Poults is not a prolific winner and @ 20/1 - 25/1, it takes a brave man to get stuck in. There's no denying he's having a solid season, which included a win on the PGA Tour back at the end of March and with Ryder Cup looming, we can expect him to stay focused to ensure he tees it up at Le Golf Nacional come September again. I'd argue the same for Andy Sullivan at best price 28/1 but Sullivan is niggling me this week as his form of late is so hard to ignore. (9-5-35-3-7-21). Looking at his last 3 visits here, Sullivan has posted 13-5-6. I wanted 35/ I await the Wednesday drift !

Ross Fisher is in danger of being omitted these days purely to me never seemingly to get the luck when on him, but if receiving a late/early draw this week ....AND....there is  bit of drift on Wednesday, he may just be added to my staking plan. His tee to green is ideal for here and he's playing very well this season if not regular enough for my own liking. With some decent course form including a T-7 12 months ago, Fisher has a runners up placing in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and a T-8 at Wentworth last month from his 6 Europeantour starts. Back inside the World's TOP50, Ross needs some big weeks if he is to force his way on to Mr. Bjorn's team. That quest starts in earnest this week.

Haotong Li, Alex Bjork, Lucas Bjeergaard, Aaron Rai and Erik Van Rooyen were on the shortlist of 20 but offer little value whilst G-Mac and Paul Dunne came into my reckonings based on course form as in the case of the Northern Irishman and accuracy and recent form of the Greystones man. Mike Lorenzo-Vera will be motivated to play well in his home Open and I expect to see him up there over the week whilst Rafael Cabrera Bello came closest of this group to being included. I wanted 28s, but am only getting 20s so is deemed of no value at first glance. In an effort to improve my own tissues, I've kept Bello firmly in my sights in terms of pricing and if Poulter is the same price then why wouldn't the Spaniard represent some value? 5 TOP-10s from 9 Euro starts this season suggests its a fair price and I could be underestimating him for the upcoming events. He did win the Scottish Open in 2017, an event he'll defend in two weeks so he could be inspired to hit form ahead of that defense. He's the player this week that I hope I haven't let get away off the shortlist although I could say same about Thomas Pieters, who could just show up this week too!(and Sully too!)

I suggest that Ross Fisher isn't a bet as I never seem to get lucky with him yet I've gone in on Martin Kaymer again this week! They say form is temporary, class is permanent, and in the case of Martin Kaymer we can say that this man exemplifies class in everything that he does. The German appears to be very happy off course these days and for whatever reason that may be, but his relaxed demeanour does seem to spilling on to the course of late where results are starting to show the steady return to form. 2nd last week to Matt Wallace, Kaymer has shown glimpses this season without really hitting the consistency button, but Le Golf Nacional is a course where he may just do that yet again. Winner here in 2009, Kaymer has produced the most consistent results of anyone since ; 6-4-70-13-12-4-5-57. We can ignore last years low return and focus on how he is entering the week ahead. He arrives having put his feet up in his hometown, Dusseldorf last week, and having challenged for a title, his first in over 4 years. As per above, Ryder Cup participation in September is a driver for these players, and whilst even at this stage, I'd have Martin as a captain's pick not solely because of his course knowledge, but his team ethos and all round influence on his teammates, he'll be keen to play his way onto the team. Paris and Gullane are opportunities ahead of the British Open to acquire plenty of points if not another title and I'm keen to get onside here @ 35/1 e/w with 7 places on offer.

Ryan Fox makes my staking plan here @ 100/1 e/w. The kiwi is well settled into Europeantour life these days and will relish playing LGN this week having gone so close last year despite an opening 73. A couple of 67s saw him finish 6th and if he's patient this week, he may just have another good showing here. Currently ranked 11th SG:TTG behind the likes of Fleetwood, McIlroy, Molinari, Reed and Rahm, the Aucklander has the tools for Le Golf Nacional and can reward recent form of 41st at Shinnecock Hills, 8th at The Italian Open and 12th at the Trophee Hassan. Weather forecast is good, hence a bold tee to green game is in prospect, so I expect him to make plenty of chances.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Travelers & BMW International Selections

TOUREVENTBet DetailsOddsBet TypeMarketUnitsResultTotal Cost of Bet
EUROBMW InternationalTommy FLEETWOOD9.00winOutright5.305.30
PGATravelers ChampionshipPatton Kizzire (1/5 - 8 places )201.00e/wOutright0.501.00
PGATravelers ChampionshipKevin Streelman (1/5 - 7 places)81.00e/wOutright1.002.00
PGATravelers ChampionshipBrendan Steele (1/5 - 6 places)81.00e/wOutright1.002.00

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

US Open 2018 - Shinnecock Hills GC, New York

Shinnecock Hills in New York hosts this week's US Open, the 2nd Major of the year. Brooks Koepka defends whilst Dustin Johnson will attempt to win back to back having taken down the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis last Sunday. DJ will tee it up as the World Number 1. The US Open was lasted hosted here in 2004 when Retief Goosen prevailed but the course underwent renovations in 2012 which saw extra length added to quite a number of the holes.That said, the fairways were widened but the setup is tough as many rough areas have been "enhanced" to complete the challenge. To make it even more of a challenge, the players are faced with Poa Annua greens here which does seem to suit some players over others.(DJ has thrived on Poa Annua)

Its a traditional Links-type course, it will suit big hitters, and those that scramble and stay patient, as ever at a US Open, will do very well. You could argue that GB&I players should like the course and conditions as well as the men from down under!

The weather forecast is interesting as winds are forecasted - which is means the course will play hard and fast and we will have a competitive US Open of old, where winning scores will be par upwards to -10.

The cream usually rises to the top at the US Open and recent winners back this up with Koepka, Johnson, Spieth, Kaymer, Rose and McIlroy all winning. The cream this week should rise again, Shinnecock will be a real test and it's highly unlikely a player will rock up here and produce the goods and spring a shock result. We have too many in form and of those, they are winning their fair share of tournaments with just the odd surprise winner. Mind, the first time MAJOR winners is a thing now but the US open is a different beast and a return to original US Open setups may see a returning past champion prevail.

My shortlist settled on 19 players and of the markets leaders that I deemed not to be of value, it's Rickie Fowler & Jason Day I fear the most to my finalized team consisting of Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Jason Dufner, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer. Oosty, Grace and Adam Scott are decent prices for a bold showing too and are certainly trading options come tee-time.

I've plumped for Justin Rose again (having backed him at Augusta earlier this year) @ 17.00. He seems to be in one of those ultra-consistent phases at present, was a winner in Dallas last month and followed up with a T-6 at Jacks place LTO. 11 Starts this season on the PGA tour has yielded 2 WINS and 7 TOP-10s. Rose won at Merion in 2013, a course which tested all players and finished TOP-15 at Pinehurst in 2014, a course not too dissimilar to Shinnecock. Rose is  a much better player than 5 years ago and it's inconceivable that he has yet to add to his sole Major title.  Its been a mixed bag for Rose at the US Opens, with 6 MCS amongst his 12 starts, though he also has a win,2 further T-10s and a further 2 T-20s.

Spain's Jon Rahm has been backed @ 24.00 already but for blog purposes here I'm putting him up at each-way @ 21.00 with 8 places a begging. The Spaniard is a bit under the radar this week but he needn't be as his form is ideal.4th at Augusta this year shows he has the mental game for a Major and his win at Portstewart 12 months ago emphasizes his ability on a links course. The big hitting Spaniard was last seen completing a TOP-10 at "Jack's Place" and arrives nice and fresh. Winner of the DP Tour Championship, its clear that Rahm is a a big-time player, has experience on these green types. If he can keep his emotions in check for what he needs them for, he has a real shot of clinching the first of what we all expect to be, multiple Majors. He has a suitable threeball for the opening two rounds in that he plays with his compatriots, Sergio Garcia & Rafael Cabrera-Bello. World Cup chat should keep them relaxed!

Jason Dufner @ 151.00 each-way is added to my staking plan this week having surprised myself on just how decent his US Open form has been. A Major winner already, Dufner certainly has the tee to green game to compete at Shinnecock and despite missing the cut the last two events, he should be motivated to perform well at another US Open where he has already a brace of TOP-5s (Merion & Olympic) as well as a TOP-10 at Oakmont and a TOP-20 at Chambers Bay. If striking the ball as well as he can, he may have the required patience to get himself in to a position for the weekend and from there he can hold his own. He's a value punt at these odds and playing with Brandt Snedeker is a positive.

Former US Open Champions, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer are added to the staking plan due to their liking of these type of courses and tournaments. I've fancied the German chances here ever since the season began but as alluded to in the BMW PGA Championship preview, I would have liked Kaymer to have had produced some more encouraging results of late. Still, signs are there that a return to form is not that far away. Its unbelievable that its 4 years since his last win, the US Open at Pinehurst! 8th in Italy LTO might have reassured him that his game is in decent nick and he too has a favourable threeball in playing alongside Stenson & Scott,all three players adapt at playing links. This could be a very interesting threeball over the opening two days and I'm hoping they carry each other along. Kaymer's price is too big for a MAJOR @ 151.00, full stop. Decent start and he's in Major mode!

G-Mac certainly isn't a bomber and may be could be considered a non-contender here but I'm loathe to leave him out especially as he is a fine exponent not just of links-style golf but of the bump and run shot, which could be a useful tool to have this week. 5th & 12th on his recent visit to Europe for the Rolex Series events has him in good form ahead of a US Open which will forever bring fond memories for the Portrush native and it'll be no surprise to see an upturn in his game the next 12 months as he prepares to be at home for the 2019 British Open. A bold showing in a MAJOR has to be a goal and he has the strategy and nuance to work his magic at Shinnecock as he sees the course as a true traditional US Open course, a course that is to his liking! In a recent interview he stated that "there's nothing here to upset me" and if he finds fairways and the course drys out, GMac has the experience and guile to post a number here, a number low enough to perhaps, at least, see him finish in the TOP-8 if not better. At 200/1, I'm happy to pay to find out.


Total - 14 pts
Bet DetailsOddsBet TypeMarketUnits
Martin Kaymer6.00winTOP-202.50
Martin Kaymer200.00winOutright0.50
Graeme McDowell201.00e/wOutright0.50
Jason Dufner151.00e/wOutright1.00
Jon Rahm21.00e/wOutright2.00
Justin Rose17.00e/wOutright2.00

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