Next stop France and Le Golf National, venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup. Many of Europe's elite will descend upon one of the finest courses this side of the Atlantic. Le Golf National is consistently ranked in Europe's top 10 and the world top 100 golf courses. Open Championship places will be up for grabs for those yet to qualify - three spots are available for those best placed in the top ten and ties not already exempt.
Graeme McDowell - 26.00 - returns here looking to make it three in a row but the Northern Irishman has been out of form this year following a new addition to the family. Leading the market is the arrow straight Francesco Molinari at 17.00 who narrowly missed out to Marcel Siem here in 2012 following a super final round of 64. Former winner Martin Kaymer who was victorious in '09 trades at 26.00 while Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood is second in the betting at 23.00.
The course - Le Golf National
An all round test of golf playing circa 7,350 yards to a par 71, the exposed track looks and plays linksy in spots while it comes equipped with some of the best water holes in the game, many set amongst stadium views. Brown wispy rough and bush awaits the errant while links style pot bunkers guard undulating greens - some with run offs and some with mound surround. Surfaces are generally slick and smooth and the greens ran at 12.5' on the stimp in 2014. Ball striking is key and there's a premium on keeping it in play off the tee. Scrambling will be of high importance around the surfaces. Fairways are of average width but play narrow in spots due to undulations. The last four Open De France renewals have seen a winning total in single digits under par.
Three from the pack
Thongchai Jaidee - 26.00 or 6.00 - was runner up to McDowell last year and is a player you could describe as Mr. Consistent. His all round game is a good fit for Le Golf National and the Thai is averaging just slightly over 28 putts per round in 2015 - good enough for 4th place on tour. He was 2nd in putting last week in Germany, the same position he finished on the leaderboard at the tough Wentworth track for the BMW PGA Championship a few weeks back. Jaidee also challenged for another win in Germany last week so he has the course and current form concoction. Holing out well will be of vital importance at Le Golf National.
Richie Ramsay - 34.00 or 7.50 - was fifth here in 2011 and he's commented in the past about the premium on ball striking around Le Golf National as well as how he enjoys the fast greens, having spent much of his time in America. he claims a liking for firm and fast conditions and Richie, in my opinion, has moved up a level in 2015. Ramsay was pretty impressive down the stretch en route to victory in Morocco at the Trophee Hassan II and the Scot is just rounding back into form with a top 10 in Ireland followed by a T11 at the Lyoness Open. Richie was fifth here in 2011.
James Morrison - 51.00 or 11.00 - opened 66-66 here back in 2011 and he's been a new player this year. Fairways are his thing (23rd last week) and holing out this year on the whole has been very impressive for the Englishman. James returned to the winners circle with a fine performance at a windy Spanish Open last month and followed up with a T11 at Wentworth - a track he was runaway leader at a few years back at the halfway stage. Further evidence that James is not afraid to go low was given to us only last week at the BMW International Open where he sat -16 and clear at the top after three rounds.
Hennie Otto - 126.0 or 26.00 - has some sneaky form in France including two top 10s and he was 13th last time out two years ago. His current figures are progressive with a top 20 bagged in Germany last week. Otto ranks 16th in driving accuracy.
French Open regular Anders Hansen - 126.0 or 26.00 - has to be worth a look at a three figure quote. The Dane is simmering right now and has been a regular feature on leaderboards here down the years. He hasn't missed a French Open for well over a decade. Anders opened with a 66 on this track in 2013 and solo led after day one - he may well be worth a look in the first round leader market at a price.