Alstom Open de France Betting Preview

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The gorgeous Le Golf National in Paris will host the European Tour and many Ryder Cup stars this week for the Alstom Open de France.
 
2013 Alstom Open de France Fact Sheet

  • Course: Le Golf National
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Yardage: 7,347 yards, par 71
  • Defending Champion: Marcel Siem
  • Five Consensus Favourites: Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Matteo Manassero and Ian Poulter

TV Schedule:

  • Thursday – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Sunday – 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)

Key Storyline This Week
 
There isn’t a whole lot to talk about in terms of storyline this week, with the exception being that we’re in the run-up to the Open Championship in a couple of weeks, and the European Tour is contesting their national opens. As you can see from the five favourites listed above, the field is strong this week, at least at the top end, and there’s definitely more star power in France than there is in West Virginia for the PGA Tour’s stop at the Greenbrier. There’s a ton of history associated with this event, which started in 1906, making it the oldest national open contested in Europe. That certainly helps the appeal for the players, but the main reason why the event garners a lot of interest is the course.
 
Le Golf National
 
Le Golf National is a stunning layout, and one of the best used on any tour, even if the average golf fan knows little about it. Hubert Chesneau took three years to build the stadium design, which can comfortably house at least 70,000 fans daily. Since opening in 1991, the course has played host to France’s national open in all but two years, and will be used for the 2018 Ryder Cup in five years time. Narrow fairways, thick rough and tons of water are present on the layout, with many thinking that it is the toughest course in all of France, which is usually reflected in the winning score. The course record is 62, set by Eduardo Romero and matched by Martin Kaymer just a few years ago, but the winning score hasn’t been lower than 15-under par in the last decade. The final four holes, their own Amen Corner if you will, are truly a sight and will likely be the determining factor in the outcome on Sunday. The video embedded below takes a look at the course, and why it’s so beloved by the players who set foot on the layout each year.
 

 
Thoughts On The Favourites

  • Martin Kaymer: Not only does Kaymer have the course record here with a 62, his track record suggests that he’s a really big fan of the place. Four top-10 finishes here including his win in 2009, but he did finish near the bottom of the board last year with a tie for 70th.
  • Luke Donald: Donald has only been here once in his career, finishing tied for 11th back in 2010. It’s been a weird year for Donald, who prides himself on his consistency both in his performance and his results. His 8th place finish at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago was only his third top-10 of the year. At this point, I’m not sure what to make of his chance this week.
  • Matt Kuchar: I make a point of not usually picking players who haven’t seen a course before, and that’s the issue with Kuchar here this week, who is heading to Le Golf National for the first time in his career. He’s been in good form, so obviously you can’t be surprised if he comes away with the win, but at the prices I’m seeing, it’s not worth it at the moment.
  • Matteo Manassero: In his three appearances at the course, Manassero hasn’t had any dreadful results, with his tie for 30th in 2011 being his worst finish. He also hasn’t had anything great either, never finishing better than 17th, mostly because he’s had one bad round be the cause of his demise in all three appearances.
  • Ian Poulter: It’s hard to believe, but Poulter is making his 11th appearance at Le Golf National this week, and he’s had good success here, never missing a cut with four top-10 finishes, but it’s hard to put much faith in him based on his current performance. His lone top-10 finish this year worldwide was his first event of the year at Kapalua back in January, so I’ll be staying away. Knowing him though, this will be the week he breaks out and confuses everyone.

Suggested Plays
 
Martin Kaymer (Best Odds 14-1 at bet365)
I usually don’t recommend taking the favourite in the field simply because golf is way too unpredictable to go down that route, but Kaymer’s track record is too good to ignore, plus his 70th place finish last year came at a time when his game was in complete disarray. He’s finished inside the top-5 in two of his last four events, including his last start at the BMW International Open. He’s starting to look better on the course each week, and I think it’s likely that he gets his first win since November of 2011 this week in France.
 
Matteo Manassero (Best Odds 28-1 at Coral)
I think the price on Manassero is a little high at the moment, especially when you consider his recent run of form which has seen him place inside the top-25 in three of his last four events, with the exception of the U.S. Open. Remember, the putter always keeps him in an event, and if he can avoid the big number that we talked about already, he should have a good chance to get his second win in little over a month.
 
Francesco Molinari (Best Odds 28-1 at Sky Bet)
Molinari’s up and down season is cause for concern, but his pair of runner-up finishes here in the past makes him an intriguing play. His inconsistent play is pretty standard for him, but considering he’s had a couple of down weeks, he should be ready to contend again, and there might not be a better place for that with his track record here.
 
Alexander Noren (Best Odds 35-1 at 888 Sport)
Back-to-back 4th place finishes has Noren on my radar again, as his putter seems to be back in working order. He’s one of the more consistent players on the European Tour, and even though his track record at Le Golf National isn’t great, he did post his best finish here last year with a 15th, so he might be getting used to the layout. In his seventh appearance this year, I like his chances.
 
Thorbjorn Olesen (Best Odds 55-1 at bet365)
Since finishing 6th at the Masters back in April, Olesen has missed his last five stroke play cuts, which explains why you can get him at 55-1. I’m not sure how much of this can be blamed on his car crash from a few months ago, or if he’s just on a run of bad form, which happens frequently for players at his age. Considering his talent level and the fact that he was a runner-up here two years ago, I’ll take my chances on him at this kind of a number.
 
Alvaro Quiros (Best Odds 92-1 at BETDAQ)
Taking Quiros here solely on his fifth place finish last week at the Irish Open. Before having wrist surgery late last year, he was thought to be a breakout star based on tremendous length from the tee and a pretty decent short game. It’s been a struggle for him in his comeback, but last week could be an indicator that a good run of form is on the horizon.

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