The Punter

Open de France: Rasmus the pick in Paris at 59/1

Golfer Guido Migliozzi
Guido Migliozzi with the Open de France trophy

With the Ryder Cup now just over a week away, the DP World Tour stops off in Paris for the Open de France and Steve Rawlings has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start here...

  • Scrambling a key stat at Le Golf National

  • Consider Celtic Manor and US Open form

  • 54-hole leaders have a poor record


Tournament History

France's Arnaud Massy, who won the Open Championship in 1907, won the first two editions of this event in 1906 and 1907 and the Open de France is the oldest national open in Continental Europe.

The tournament wasn't played during the war years, and we lost two editions because of the pandemic so this is the 105th edition.

The Open de France has been a mainstay on the DP World Tour since its inception 50 years ago.

Venue

Le Golf National, Paris

Course Details

Par 71, 7,247 yards
Stroke index in 2022 - 71.37

Le Golf National only opened in 1990 but it's already establishing itself as a truly great venue that provides an extremely demanding test.

LE GOLF NATIONAL 1.jpgIt's a fairly exposed track with a linksy feel and undulating fairways of average width. The greens are bentgrass, of an average size, and they usually run at around 12 on the stimpmeter. Water is in play on holes 1, 2, 13, 15, 16 and 18.

It's a stadium style course designed by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Van Hagge and it underwent some significant changes prior to the 2016 edition, in preparation for the Ryder Cup in 2018.


Weather Forecast


TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting midday on Thursday

Last Six Winners with Pre-event Exchange Prices

  • 2022 - Guido Migliozzi -16 130.0129/1
  • 2020 & '21 - Event cancelled
  • 2019 - Nicolas Colsaerts -12 160.0159/1
  • 2018 - Alex Noren -7 19.5
  • 2017 - Tommy Fleetwood -12 25.024/1
  • 2016 - Thongchai Jaidee -11 75.074/1
  • 2015 - Bernd Wiesberger -13 38.037/1

What Will it Take to Win the Open de France

Guido Migliozzi didn't drive particularly well last year - ranking 35th for Driving Distance and 44th for Driving Accuracy but historically accuracy has been more important than distance with the 16 winners before him having average rankings of 32.9 for DD and 11.25 for DA. Being straight off the tee is usually more important that hitting it miles but what you do after the drive is also important.

Migliozzi only ranked 14th for Greens in Regulation but had the man he collared in round four, Rasmus Hojgaard, held on, ten of the last 16 winners would have ranked inside the top-three for GIR. Hojgaard, who was beaten by a stroke, ranked second for that key metric.

The 2019 winner, Nicolas Colsaerts, only ranked 68th for Scrambling and that's an unusually high ranking for any winner and especially so at Le Golf National.

The two previous winners, Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood, ranked eighth and ninth for Scrambling and that was still quite high for this venue...

Migliozzi topped the Scrambling rankings 12 months ago, Thongchai Jaidee ranked second when he won here in 2016, the 2015 winner, Bernd Wiesberger, ranked third, when the top-five scramblers all finished inside the top-six places.

Jaidee also finished runner-up here nine years ago when he also ranked second for Scrambling, with Mathew Baldwin, who finished 5th, ranking first. In 2013, six of the first seven home ranked inside the top-eight for Scrambling and 11 years ago, four of the first six home ranked in the top-six for that stat.

GIR is a stat to concentrate on, but Scrambling looks the most important and the top scrambler for the week has finished in the places in 15 of the last 18 renewals.

As many as five of the top six ranked inside the top-seven for Putting Average but it's not unusual to see someone to rank poorly for putting and win. Noren only ranked 37th for Putting Average in 2018, Fleetwood's PA ranking in 2017 was only 53rd, Wiesberger ranked just 33rd in 2016 and the three winners between 2011 and 2013 had an average PA ranking of just 25.6.

Is There an Angle In?

Although he'd finished 11th in both 2011 and 2012, in addition to a couple of other top-25 finishes, Colsaerts didn't have the strongest set of form figures around Le Golf National before he won here two years ago, and Migliozzi had missed the cut on his only previous visit, but course form usually counts for plenty.

Noren took his time to get to grips with the track, he missed his first three cuts and his next four visits yielded form figures reading 78-37-14-MC, but he was trending in the right direction having finished eighth in 2016 and tenth in 2017 before he won in 2018.

Both Graeme McDowell and Jean-Francois Remesy have won the event back-to-back and there was enough evidence in the 2016 renewal alone to highlight how important course form is...

Jaidee had finished second and tenth in the two previous renewals, the runner-up to Jaidee, Francesco Molinari, was occupying that finishing position for the third time here, Rory McIlroy finished third, six years after he'd finished fourth on his previous visit, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who finished fourth, had also placed in each of the two previous editions and former winner, Martin Kaymer, finished fifth.

The Wales Open (now known as the Cazoo Open) wasn't played in-between 2015 and 2019 but prior to 2015 there appeared to be a very strong correlation between the host venue - Celtic Manor - and Le Golf National, and Colsaerts boosted the link at the 2019 edition of this event.

Colsaerts wins Open de Fance.jpg

Colsaerts was fourth in the 2014 edition of the Wales Open and the three winners of that event between 2010 and 2012 were G-Mac, Noren and Jaidee. All three have won here.

When Joost Luiten claimed the Welsh title ahead of Colsaerts in 2014, the 2017 Open de France winner, Fleetwood finished second.

The man who finished second to Fleetwood here in 2017, Peter Uihlein, was the runner-up in Wales in 2013, and finally, South Africa's Richard Sterne has finished second at both venues. It looks a great link.

Last year's winner, Migliozzi, is an in-and-out performer and he often goes off at a triple-figure price, but he's finished fourth and 14th in his only two appearances in the US Open and as Dave Tindall pointed out last year, a number of Paris winners have also won what's often regarded as the toughest major, so that's another angle in to consider.

Is There an Identikit Winner?

Outsiders used to have a really good record here and the last two winners have gone off at a triple-figure price.

Colsaerts was the first big- priced winner in seven years but prior to the first of Graeme McDowell's back-to-back wins in 2013 (G-mac was priced at 34.033/1 and 16.015/1), longshots had - had a very strong record and six of the eight winners before 2013 were matched at a triple-figure price before the off.

Winner's Position and Price Pre-Round Four

  • 2022 - Guido Migliozzi -T9 - trailing by five 90.089/1
  • 2020 & '21 - Event cancelled
  • 2019 - Nicolas Colsaerts led by three strokes 2.001/1
  • 2018 - Alex Noren T7 - trailing by seven strokes 42.041/1
  • 2017 - Tommy Fleetwood T3 - trailing by two 5.14/1
  • 2016 - Thongchai Jaidee - led by two 3.953/1
  • 2015 - Bernd Wiesberger - solo third - trailing by three 6.86/1

In-Play Tactics

As many as nine of the last 12 54-hole leaders have been beaten and as Hojgaard demonstrated brilliantly 12 months ago, although he was arguably a bit of an unlucky loser in the end, converting from the front here is notoriously tricky.

The Dane led by eight strokes after he'd finished his second round on Friday morning and in more than 50 years of DP World Tour history, nobody has led an event by that many strokes at halfway. As it transpired, that record still stands because playing in the afternoon on day two, George Coetzee closed to within seven of Hojgaard and the Frenchman, Paul Barjon, finished nicely to get to within six, but Hojgaard still headed into the weekend as a strong favourite, trading at around 1.51/2.

After a par at his opening hole on Saturday, Hojgaard's price dipped to just 1.42/5 but the tournament was blown wide open at the very next hole when he put three tee-balls into the water at the par three second before holing a 14-foot putt for a quintuple eight!

After a poor third round, he bounced back very well on Sunday to shoot a three-under-par 68 to finish four strokes clear of the trio tied for third but Migliozzi's nine-under-par 62 on Sunday was the best final round in the event's 104 year history.

Despite leading by three through 54 holes, the 2019 winner, Colsaerts, stuttered over the line. George Coetzee, who was matched at a low of 1.330/100 and J.B Hansen (hit just 1.241/4) both looked more likely to lift the trophy at various points in the final round.

Although never in front until day four, Fleetwood was in the van from the get-go in 2017 and Jaidee was magnificent in 2016, calmly converting a two-stroke lead into a four-stroke winning margin but this is usually a really hard track to hold on.

Migliozzi was the third winner to trail by at least five strokes since 2014 and we lost the 2020 and 2021 editions to the pandemic!

Every winner here has been inside the top-ten places through 54 holes but Migliozzi pushed that last year given he was tied ninth through three rounds.

We've seen winners come from two, three, four, five and seven adrift at Paris National and when McDowell defended the title nine years ago, he trailed by eight with a round to go!

Noren trailed by seven with a round to go in 2018 and he was one of five men to trade at odds-on in round four! Marcus Kinult, who had led after round three, was matched at a low of 1.8810/11, Jon Rahm hit 1.981/1, Julian Suri was matched at 1.9520/21 and the eventual second, Chris Wood, traded all the way down to 1.454/9 before bogeys at 15 and 17 did for his chances. It's a really difficult finish and posting a score and waiting for the rest to fail has often been the way the title's been decided.

Previously a par five, the 18th is very often the hardest hole on the course but after the par five 14th, it's a tough finish all round, so if your fancy is in front with four to play you might want to bank some profit and if you're planning to trade in running on Sunday, anyone already in the house will have a distinct advantage on anyone on the same score with holes to play.

That may seem obvious, but the market always favours those still on the course, with optimistic punters imagining birdies, but in reality, playing the last four holes in level-par is a great finish and very few play the 72nd hole as well as Migliozzi did 12 months ago.

Market Leaders

Last week's fancy at Wentworth, Tom Kim, who played quite nicely on Sunday until his chance of victory had gone, heads a competitive market.

This is the Korean's first appearance in the event, but we should expect a bold showing.

Kim has performed well in the limited number of appearances he's had on the DP World Tour. Le Golf National should suit him given he's ranked inside the top-10 for Driving Accuracy in four of his last five starts and inside the top-10 for Scrambling in three of his last five. Both stats are key here.

Min Woo Lee will be motivated by seeing his good friend Ryan Fox win at Wentworth on Sunday. Lee arrives in fair form himself after his seventh in the Irish Open two weeks ago and his 14th at Wentworth.

Like Kim, Lee is playing in the event for the first time, and he also has a great short game around the greens, but my big concern is his driving. He was spectacularly wayward at times last week and that could prove to be costly at this venue.

Ryan Fox has course form figures reading 6-44-18-MC so he has shown an aptitude for the venue, especially when we consider his sixth on debut in 2017 was despite a 73 in round one. But how will he respond to winning such a prestigious title on Sunday?

He finished 67th at the Mexico Championship the week after he won his first DP World Tour event in 2019, he took a two-month break after winning the Ras al Khaimah Classic in February last year, before finishing 15th in Spain after a slow start. He missed the cut in his next event (two weeks later), after winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last October.

Ryan Fox wins at Wentworth.jpg

Winning back-to-back is notoriously tough so for that reason alone I'm happy to swerve him.

The only other player trading at less than 20/121.00 is Aaron Rai, who was matched at a low of 3.412/5 on Sunday at Wentworth before coming up one shot shy.

He'll need to lift himself after that and given he's played here twice previously and missed the cut on both occasions, he's hard to fancy. He shot 80-72 on debut in 2018 and 72-75 12 months later, so it's very hard to make a case for him on course form.

Hojgaard too big at 59/1

I liked a few here but not enough to chance them at what I thought were prohibitive odds.

Alex Bjork is highly likely to contend but he's very hard to get across the line and the likes of Thorbjorn Olesen and Adrian Otaegui, whilst both great fits, aren't playing quite well enough to chance at just over 40/141.00.

I've got three outsiders onside for the Find Me a 100 Winner column, which will be out later this afternoon, but for now my only pick is last year's runner-up, Rasmus Hojgaard, who looks a little big at 60.059/1 given how well he took to the venue on debut last year.

Rasmus has been typically in-and-out form this year but he won in his homeland just two months ago and he showed glimpses last week when shooting back-to-back 67s in rounds two and three.

With four DP World Tour titles in the bag already, the 22-year-old is prolific enough to chance modestly at a price at a venue he's already shown he can play.

Back Rasmus Hojgaard @ 60.059/1

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*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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