Selectabet: Alstom Open de France
June 27, 2011 1 Comment
Date: 30th June to 3rd July 2011
Competition: Alstom Open de France
Venue: Le Golf National, Paris, France (Albatross Course)
Le Golf National on the outskirts of Versailles near Paris, is the well-established home of the Alstom Open de France and will host the event for the 19th consecutive season. Consistently a top 5 European ranking course, the inland links will also become only the second Continental venue – following Club de Golf, Valderrama (Spain ’97) – for the 42nd edition of The Ryder Cup when contested in the autumn of 2018. So many eyes will be on this one this week…
The Alstom Open de France is not only the oldest National Open Championship on Continental Europe, dating back to 1906, but also one of the richest, with a prize fund of €3,000,000. The 2011 event is the 95th staging of the tournament and the winner will walk with 500,000 garlic cloves.
Yards: 7,300 yards
“Le Open Championship” fast approaches and the field has picked up strength since last week’s BMW in Germany but will yet peak at next week’s Scottish over new links track, Castle Stuart. That said, many of Europe’s finest are still absent leaving room to make mention of the frogs leg masticating homeboys Thomas Levet, Raphael Jacquelin and the ever wet footed Jean Van De Velde (All at 89/1, 61/1 and 303/1 at Betfair respectively). Bof!
Le Golf National has a hint of Florida about it, a dab of Ireland and more than a soupçonne of Le France. The rough, like many of its leading ladies, is hairy and dangerous, the layout favours the left to right hitter and water features on 8 of its holes. It is perhaps most noted for having the most exciting closing stretch in European golf – so “they” say.
With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled on the 175 yard par three 16th with water front right, bunkers left (be long!), the bland straight bunker less 484 yard par 4, 17th and the double dog legged 470 yard par 4 18th with island green. Not sure it sounds like the most exciting closing to me…but the French clearly know their onions.
Ones to watch:
Playing truant after inclusion in my tips last week, and harder, better, faster, stronger than Daft Punk, Thomas Aiken (43/1 at Betfair) still continues a rich vein of form since his win in Spain some months ago. A solid performer with seven top 15 finishes to his name already, falls slightly down my Michelin rating this week, but still worth a mention and will be my “à surveiller”.
Standing tall like the well known Parisian pylon is the entirely heterosexual pink tinged Bubba Watson (23/1 Betfair) who makes a debut in a European Tour event. The left hander favours the left to right draw and will enjoy the US style course set-up and will be one to watch regardless. A long and aggressive player, will he better his US counterparts and fair well competing on a Tour that currently dominates the upper echelons of the World Rankings?
This week’s Chateauneuf du Pape is hairy Spaniard Alvaro Quiros (21/1 at Betfair), returning from a few weeks rest in time for the build up to The Open. Currently holding up 7th place in the Race To Dubai, a long hitter and an exceptional putter, how will he fair over the hybrid inland dunes of France as links season approaches?
One to Win:
This weeks 1787 Chateau Lafite is a French talking lover of house music from a rich gene pool of sporting prowess. Supremely long off the tee (they all seem to be these days!) as 2010 European Tour long hitter and current leader of greens in regulation, Nicolas Colsaerts (45/1 from Betfair) is building a solid season with three top fives including a win in China. Stronger with every tournament he plays, will he dictate the part of Napoleon Bonaparte leaving others calling for Joe le Taxi or will the French Open be his Waterloo?