Steve’s top tips: Martin Kaymer (33/1), Bernd Wiesberger (20/1)
Francesco Molinari has to have a huge chance this week on a course where he has a fine record. Second and sixth the last two years, the Italian can also point to runner up finishes at the Open de France in 2012 and 2010.
Runner up at Wentworth last month at the BMW PGA Championship, he is in red-hot form despite missing the weekend at the US Open.
I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him but he’s joint favourite at 14/1 with Jon Rahm and that’s a bit short for me.
Despite all of that success at Le Golf National, Molinari is yet to triumph at the course and, for me, doesn’t win enough.
I’ll definitely look at him each way but, at nearly treble the price with some firms, I’m going to plump for Martin Kaymer to have a strong week.
Form is a problem for the German. He missed the cut at the BMW International Open last week and can only look at a top 40 finish in the US Open as a crumb for comfort in recent weeks.
But Kaymer is a notoriously streaky player and, more than that, he’s definitely a horses for courses sort.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the way he performs at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
He can boast a similar love of this difficult test just outside of Paris. Top five finishes in the last two years, and the winner in 2009, Kaymer’s worst display over the last four years is 13th in 2013 – and he’s shown some pretty indifferent patches of form over that period.
I think the Open de France favours those with an affinity for it – Thongchai Jaidee’s record is first, 10th and second over the past three years (and yet he’s 66/1 – ignore that at your peril despite his 81 in Germany last week).
Players who do well here seem to perform again and again and that would also bring the likes of Bernd Wiesberger into play.
The Austrian is ultra consistent, following up his win at the Shenzhen International in April with a top five at the China Open and top 20s in the Lyoness Open, US Open and BMW International Open.
We’re paying, at 20/1, for the privilege of backing him but you’d like to think you’re getting some bang for your buck.
His Open de France form is outstanding to say the least – winning in 2015 and a worst finish in his last four starts of 18th.