Open de France First Round Leader Tips: Get with Donaldson

Welshman Jamie Donaldson
Welshman Jamie Donaldson can make a fast start in Paris

Dave Tindall picks out three players to get onside early in France this week...

"The Welshman has lots of good form at Le Golf National, with five finishes of 21st or better. That includes fifth and sixth. In terms of his positions after round one, he's been fourth, fifth and ninth."

*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places

Weather forecast for Thursday: It's a cool start with temperatures only just creeping over 50 degrees (set to rise to early 60s in the afternoon). Light rain is a threat throughout the day while the gentle breeze picks up from 6mph in the morning to 9mph by mid-afternoon.

FRL history at Le Golf National

2018 - 67 Bradley Dredge
2017 - 64 Paul Waring
2016 - 66 Lucas Bjerregaard
2015 - 68 Bernd Wiesberger, Jaco Van Zyl, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Victor Dubuisson
2014 - 64 Kevin Stadler

Strategy: It's set to be a bit of a grind all day at Le Golf National. The ball won't fly far and rain could be in the mix too. I'm not too sure if there's any advantage so will pick freely without leaning on tee-times.

Jump on Jamie

Jamie Donaldson has been a popular pick in the outright market and I like him for FRL too.

The Welshman has lots of good form at Le Golf National, with five finishes of 21st or better. That includes fifth and sixth.

In terms of his positions after round one, he's been fourth, fifth and ninth.

Fast starts have been a feature of his play over the last few months.

Donaldson opened with a 64 at the Scottish Open to be fifth after Thursday's action while a R1 65 put him sixth at the European Masters. At the Spanish Open two weeks ago, the former Ryder Cup star started out with a 66 to sit third.

He's a 09:35 starter from the 10th tee. Take the 60/1.

Adrian worth a shout

On the face of it, Adrian Otaegui shouldn't be on the radar as his last nine tournaments show seven missed cuts and two other finishers of 60th and 61st.

However, the latter two came on his last two starts and, significantly for this market, he started well in both. Not only that, he also opened with a 64 when missing the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Links three weeks ago.

Therefore, we can look at his current play in a much different light and note that his R1 positions on his latest trio of starts show 11-9-2.

And now the easy bit...

Otaegui is playing this course for the seventh time and his last two finishes are tied 12th last year and tied seventh in 2017.

He didn't start well last year but in the previous three Open de Frances he ranked eighth, second and 12th after the first lap.

A 13:20 starter, Otaegui is 60/1.

Stone can start fast

My third pick is somewhat speculative but Brandon Stone could just do us a favour at 95/1.

The South African likes a course which has links traits and, of course, he once won the Scottish Open with a closing round of 60.

He finished fifth here in 2016 and that year, and again in 2017, Stone opened with a 69.

The halfway leader here three years ago, his current form looks poor but his first-round play has been decent enough, Stone starting with a 70 in Italy and a 69 at the Alfred Dunhill Links.

Back on a course where he's played well before, he can go well from his 09:25 tee-time.

Dave's 2019 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £1170
Returned: £1067.59
P/L: -£102.41

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