Open de France Betting: Molinari to go one better in Paris

Time to tip the hat - Francesco Molinari can go well this week

A cracking tournament is in store on the European Tour this week and Mike Norman believes previous course form is essential at Le Golf National as he attempts to find the winner using Betfair's Fixed Odds product...

"Molinari shot arguably the round of his season when finishing with a 64 to claim second place here last year, so just a good week with the putter could see him go one place better."

Back Francesco Molinari @ 29.028/1

Not many people will draw comparisons between Augusta National and Le Golf National, but I am one of the few, and it's not just because both names share an identical word.

As I've mentioned many times previously, when studying a golf tournament from a betting perspective I put far more emphasis on current or recent form than I do on past course form. However, there are two tournaments in the season where I do make an exception and rely on course form as my starting point.

The Masters - always played at Augusta - is one of those tournaments, and this week's Open de France, with the Albatros course at Le Golf National now its regular home, being the other.

At both venues you'll regularly find the same players in contention, and although the names that appear at the top of the Open de France leaderboard might not be as glamorous as those at The Masters, the main rule for finding the winner of each event is the same - back players with proven course form.

Here are five players for you to consider;

Martin Kaymer - 17.016/1

Kaymer is definitely priced up on his excellent course form rather than his current form but even at a relatively short-looking 16/1 I'm still happy to get him on my side. In fact, Fixed Odds of 17.016/1 appear quite generous given that he is trading at just 15.014/1 on the Exchange at the time of writing.

A year after romping to victory at a tournament in France on the Challenge Tour, Kaymer made his debut at Le Golf National in 2007 and recorded a highly respectable seventh place finish.

That was just the start of his love affair with the Albatros course as two years later Kaymer secured the title, beating Lee Westwood in a play-off. Sixth in 2010 and fourth in 2011 confirm the German's liking for the venue; his patience and excellent approach play being perfect for this demanding set-up.

Kaymer's form in the last 18 months hasn't been so great, but three top-10 finishes at the start of this season and a fourth place finish in the BMW International Open when last seen in Europe augers well. He won't be far away this week.

Francesco Molinari - 29.028/1

At almost twice the price of Kaymer, Molinari has to be my main selection to take the title given that I couldn't split the pair.

Back-to-back top-25 finishes in 2008 and 09 helped the straight-hitting Italian get his eye in at Le Golf National, and he showed the benefit of gaining that course experience by finishing in a tie for second in 2010, losing out in a three-man play-off to Miguel Angel Jimenez. He shot arguably the round of his season when finishing with a 64 to claim second place here last year, so just a good week with the putter could see him go one place better.

Molinari looked in good form a month ago when playing well in the Volvo World Match Play and then at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship. Finding greens in regulation is a must this week, and very few players in the field find them with more regularity than Francesco.

Alejandro Canizares - 81.080/1

Also losing out in that three-man play-off in 2010 was Canizares, but a second place finish continued an upward curve at Le Golf National for this talented Spaniard. Tied 30th in 2008, Canizares then recorded a top-10 finish a year later before his narrow miss three years ago.

His recent form is good too. He was always in contention at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship where a breathtaking display of iron play during round three was particularly noteworthy with this tournament in mind, and a top-10 finish at last week's Irish Open was also highly encouraging. He's a must for each-way punters at a very generous 81.080/1.

Graeme Storm - 126.0125/1

While Kaymer's course form is possibly the best on show pre-tournament, few players in this week's field come as close as Storm to matching the German's record here.

Le Golf National has been very kind to this likeable north-east lad. Not only did Storm win here in 2007 but he went on a six year run of fine finishes from 2006 where his worst result was a tie for 21st. Not bad indeed. He appears to be on the fringe of hitting a good run of form again, so at 126.0125/1 he also enters each-way calculations.

Mark Foster - 151.0150/1

Foster is yet another player in this week's field that tends to do well at the Paris venue. A 21st place finish in 2006 was followed by a 15th place finish in 2007. Then came two great years, a sixth place finish in 2010 and a tied second in 2011 - beaten just one stroke - show that the Englishman is very comfortable at Le Golf National.

In terms of recent form he hasn't been scintillating by any means, but he wasn't in scintillating form ahead of his excellent efforts here in 2010 and 11 either. Back-to-back top-25s at the Volvo China Open and the BMW PGA Championships recently do offer encouragement however.

Recommended Bets

Back Martin Kaymer @ 17.016/1
Back Francesco Molinari @ 29.028/1
Back Alejandro Canizares each-way @ 81.080/1
Back Graeme Storm each-way @ 126.0125/1
Back Mark Foster each-way @ 151.0150/1

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