The Punter's De-Brief: Rock-solid Tommy impresses in Paris

Kyle Stanley with the Quicken Loans National trophy
Kyle Stanley with the Quicken Loans National trophy

After victories for Tommy Fleetwood in Paris and Kyle Stanley in Maryland, our man takes his customary look back at all last week's golf action here...


"Those holding juicy bets on Tommy for the Open Championship, which is staged this year at Royal Birkdale, his local links, will be on very good terms with themselves. Fleetwood was widely available at 200/1 and bigger at the turn of the year but he’s now the same price as he was to win in France on the exchange, although I suspect he may drift from 25.024/1 as the euphoria surrounding this latest success subsides."

Pre-tournament 25.024/1 chance, Tommy Fleetwood, calmly constructed a quite brilliant bogey-free, five-under-par 66 final round at the Open de France to win his third European Tour title with the minimum of fuss. America's Peter Uihlein, who had begun round four tied for the lead with Alexander Bjork, did nothing much wrong and he birdied the tough 17th to get within one of the Southport man, but he couldn't match the achievement on the 18th hole and the trophy belonged to Tommy.

As was the case when he won in Abu Dhabi in January, Fleetwood was completely composed throughout the final round and he's elevated his career to yet another level. He began the week ranked 21st in the Official World Rankings, ended it at number 15 and if he can double up in Ireland on Sunday he'll crack the top-10.

Those holding juicy bets on Tommy for the Open Championship, which is staged this year at Royal Birkdale, his local links, will be on very good terms with themselves. Fleetwood was widely available at 200/1 and bigger at the turn of the year but he's now the same price as he was to win in France on the exchange, although I suspect he may drift from 25.024/1 as the euphoria surrounding this latest success subsides.

Over in the States, the Quicken Loans National developed into a very entertaining tournament. Three players were matched at odds-on and Korea's Sung Kang hit a low of 2.1411/10 before he got caught out by a heavy downpour.

Kang had a four foot putt to tie the lead on the par four 16th hole but the heavens opened and Kang had no wet weather gear and no umbrella.

"It said zero percent chance of rain all day. Like no chance of thunderstorms at all," Kang told CBS after his round.

Kang missed the putt and then after a brief suspension in play to allow for the downpour to pass, he found water off the tee on 17 and his chances were gone.

Third round leader, David Lingmerth, who had been matched at as short as 1.981/1 in-running before the fourth and final round, fell away with a second successive three-over par 73 and it was left to Kyle Stanley and Charles Howell III to fight it out for the title.

Having reached seven under-par after the drivable par four 14th, where Stanley birdied and Howell made eagle, the pair parred their way in but Howell was desperately unlucky not to win in regulation play with this birdie attempt on the 72nd hole.




Pre-event 110.0109/1 chance, Howell, who hadn't won for 10 years and who hadn't played anywhere in almost three months because of a rib injury, hit a low of 1.251/4 in-running and after Stanley had hit a shocking drive at the first extra hole he looked far and away the most likely winner but he rushed his approach shot, missed the green, rushed his third and then missed his lengthy par save. Stanley caught a break and got a decent lie in the rough, hit his second to just off the back of the green and got up-and-down for his second PGA Tour title and his first in five years.

Stanley had been playing very well coming into the event, so he was a 55.054/1 chance before the off but he did hit a high of 210.0209/1 in-running. Howell was matched at as big as 370.0369/1.


My Bets

I only backed two before the off in France, Ian Poulter and my each-way fancy, Joost Luiten and both were hopeless. And my in-play picks all came up short too.

Thorbjørn Olesen, who I backed at 80.079/1 after round one, hit a low of 9.08/1 when he stood over a makeable birdie putt yesterday on 15 to get to nine-under-par but even if he'd made that and not bogeyed 17, it wouldn't have been enough.

It looked like being a week to forget but the finish to the Quicken Loans was a huge bonus. My in-play pick, Curtis Luck, started brightly and hit a low of 4.67/2 and I really should have taken more profit there but I only modestly layed him and I really should have taken on Lingmerth properly in-running too.

The Swede had impressed me greatly when he beat Justin Rose in a playoff at the Memorial Tournament two years ago and he did nothing wrong when he lost a playoff to Jason Dufner at the CareerBuilder Challenge last January, so even after he'd bogeyed the first hole yesterday, I thought he might be the one to beat.

I did lay the flaky Daniel Summerhays when he birdied the second to hit the front though and that got the ball rolling nicely. He hit a low of 2.8415/8 but he's been hopeless in-contention and yet again he just melted away - eventually finishing tied 17th!

After that I layed both Luck and Lingmerth, but not for anywhere near enough, and I got stuck in to Howell at odds-on after he'd eagled the 14th. From then on it was just a case of getting Kang, Stanley and Martin Laird in the book to make sure I put myself in profit whoever won.

Looking back, I was very lucky that Stanley got up-and-down from an impossible spot on 17 and that Howell missed that putt on 18 (I'd gone against Howell far more heavily in regulation) and I definitely should have been aggressively taking on Lingmerth from the halfway stage but all things considered, given how awful the French event had been, I was more than happy not to lose.


What Have We Leaned This Week?

Thorbjørn Olesen is almost always too big in-running when he starts a tournament reasonably well and he'll continue to be a default in-play pick if he continues to be underestimated.

The market nearly always favours those on the course to those in the house on a Sunday and anyone posting an early score should be looked at closely for a possible trade. Olesen was available to back on Sunday at 65.064/1 after he'd birdied the 18th to get to -8 and while that transpired to be four short in the end, he was matched at less than half that price as he sat in the clubhouse.

Course form appears irrelevant to Tommy Fleetwood and him having low expectations may be one of the reasons he's won twice this year and fared well in two huge tournaments. His form figures in Abu Dhabi read MC-MC-19-MC-MC before he won there and in four previous visits to Paris National he'd never made the weekend. He performed brilliantly at the WGC event in Mexico and at the US Open at Erin Hills - two courses he'd never seen before.

If we turn that on its head, he might be one to take on at Royal Birkdale given he'll be expecting to perform well there. He was well-fancied to do well in the Open Championship at St Andrews two years ago (a course where he previously had a brilliant record) but he was a flop there.

We still haven't had a winner from outside the top-eight places at Paris National with a round to go but the third round leader or co-leaders have failed to convert in seven of the last nine renewals.

And finally, if we go back to TPC Potomac, and I really hope we do, accuracy is the key. It was reminiscent of a US Open set up and all sorts of trouble awaited the inaccurate from the tee. Stanley finished the week ranking third for Driving Accuracy and first for Greens In regulation and was able to hoist the trophy despite averaging 30 putts per round!

I'll be back later today (hopefully) with my Irish Open preview and tomorrow with my Greenbrier Classic preview.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles