Apologies, Excuses and Good News
First of all I need to apologise to you all for the late release of this write up but hopefully you will excuse me as I had been a little occupied at the beginning of the week trying to help a good friend with his pursuit of a place at The Open at Royal Birkdale.
This Sunday and Monday just gone I picked up the bag and looped for 'the one armed chipping bandit' Connor Fletcher at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey, where they were hosting one of the regional qualifying events for The Open. There were around 150 competitors scrapping it out for 8 rare spots to progress on to final qualifying that is due to take place next week.
The good news, not only did Connor pick up a place at final qualifying but we also managed to place 1st with an incredible round of 66 (-6), winning by 2 clear strokes.
So next week I have been asked to pick up that ridiculously heavy bag once again and this time were off to Royal Cinque Ports where 36 holes will be played in 1 day against some of the top players worldwide, including names as big as Vijay Singh.
This does mean that next weeks write up will also be released a little late, however as always I promise to still give you 100% and provide a write up that fills me with almost the same pride I experienced when we walked off that 18th green on Monday.
Re-Cap BMW International Open.
Sticking with the theme of good news, thank you to everyone who sent me messages or posted about the success they had from my picks. I too had a solid week, winning just over 4 times my initial investment. This could of been so much better if I had more exposure to my Detry pick rather than Burmester, and I'd somehow managed to pull a Romero pick out of thin air. Anyway joking aside of course I was very happy with last weeks work and results and absolutely loved watching this tournament. Hopefully this run of good luck and form will now carry itself deeper into the week and we will all see bigger returns from the French Open.
Next Up - Open de France at Le Golf national, Paris
Now that were deep in to the season the events and quality of field just keep getting better and better, this week we have the 2nd event in the Rolex series and 101st edition of Open de France. First played in 1906 and has featured as a part of The European Tour since 1972. Not only does this event have superb history and prestige, it has a host of legendary names that have previously lifted its trophy and a massive prize fund available to reward its competitors.
Those previous legendary names include 2 of my childhood hero's, the late great Seve Ballesteros who won this event 4 times and England's finest, Sir Nick Faldo who took the honours 3 times. Multiple victories is certainly not a rarity here and there is undoubtedly a style of play that seems to be most suited to success.
In 2013 and 2014 Graeme McDowell took the title, BerndWeisberger lifted the trophy in 205 and last year it was the turn of Thongchai Jaidee.
Le Golf National is one of those venues that a huge percentage of the field will be extremely familiar with and feel equally at home at when off the course as the home contingent. It has hosted this event 24 times in the last 26 years and will also be the host of next years Ryder Cup.
Built specifically to host huge tournaments and cater perfectly for the needs of the resort playing traveller. Le Golf National boasts 2 gorgeous 18 hole courses, 1 considerably more difficult than the other and a 9 hole academy course. It also has outstanding practice facilities and of course exceptional accommodation on site or very nearby.
The upcoming event as always will be played on their Albatross course... correct name for a double eagle ;-)
The course measures 7,247 yards and has a par of 71. It was very much designed to be played like a links style course however it also has the added difficulty of water hazards to contend with on plenty of the holes. Although unique in its own way it has been replicated or utilised at many other courses across Europe and maybe a very good reason as to why this was such a popular choice of venue and course for Europe's attempt to reclaim the all important Ryder Cup.
Due to the venue having been built on very exposed farmland, it is also susceptible to the winds whenever there present, this will obviously alter the difficult of the course but could easily influence the outcome through good/bad side of the draw, or as simple as an unlucky gust of wind at the wrong time.
Key Stats and Strategy
As I mentioned earlier there is a very much a style of play that suits this course. So time to put your bombers away and focus more on your patient plodders and ball strikers.
Bogey avoidance, Good skills on and around the green, Accuracy off the tee and Accuracy with mid length irons in hand. I also want players with the ability to control ball flight and good experience with links style courses.
Alex Noren $10,000. Out of the 3 players available in this section I am most likely to save myself a small fortune and play more Noren than Rahm or Mollinari. Currently ranked 8th in the world, last 3 regular tour starts have seen him finish T15 at the Nordea Masters, 1st at Wentworth and placed T10 at The Players. In my opinion just as capable and likely to win as the others mentioned but at the fraction of the cost.
$9,000 - $10,000
Bernd Weisbeger £9,800. What an incredible year Bernd is having so far, Mr reliable for making a cut having seen the weekend in every event he has started and also picked up a win earlier in the year. He won here in 2015 and playing better golf now than he was then. When looking at accuracy stats he fits this course perfectly and is highly unlikely to cause you too much stress, Bogey avoidance, course management skills and ball striking have been the key to his successful year and I fully expect more success here.
Tommy Fleetwood $9,200. If your looking for a player in form, capable of a win, with a game that fits the course look no further. Tommy's last 2 starts have picked up T6 in Germany and 4th at the US Open. He is also an outstanding links golfer so I will be playing a fair bit of Tommy..
Ross Fisher $9,000. I believe this could easily be another week where we see Ross picking up at least a top 10 finish to go with the 4 he has already and once again competing for the win. He has had 4 missed cuts this year, however those came from his first two starts of the season, the the US Open and The Players. I'm hoping this helps keep his ownership down and we can benefit by paying more attention to recent form on regular tour events and his track record on ball strikers courses.
$8,000 - $9,000
Joost Luiten $8,700. Only the 1 missed cut from 11 starts this year, solid placing all year even whilst struggling somewhat with his game, starting to find much better form of late, striking it loads better and now turning those top 25 finishes into top 15 or better. It wont be long before he picks up a win and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if this is his week.
Chris Wood $8,300 Great ball striker, very good in gusty conditions and ticks those boxes as a links style course player, just had a recent exceptional performance at the Nordea Masters coming very close to winning again on the Euro Tour.
Alexander Levy $8,200 It would almost be wrong for me not to include a home player in this write up, Alex is by far my favourite choice from those available and in all honesty great value at this price. He has been knocking on the door for a win, maybe home support will offer that extra gear he's looking for.
$7,000 - $8,000
Pablo Larrazabal $7,500. Former winner, incredible ball striker, very capable of working his ball flights and has an outstanding short game to get him out of trouble. 3 top 10's already and very good recent form.
Thomas Aiken $7,100 Ball striker, fairways and greens man, and solid when it comes to making cuts in stronger fields and trickier courses. great value for GPP and Cash.
Trevor Fisher Jnr $7,000 T20 in Germany, one of the better ball strikers in the field, needs a hot putter or a little luck and this could be a great event for him.
$7,000 or less
David Lipsky $6,900. Loving Lipsky at this price. ownership will no doubt be high but understandable with all of his recent form and solid performance especially when looking at cuts made and his T10 placing last time out.
Jorge Campilo $6,900 Very surprised to see a player of this quality with the attributes he owns at such an incredibly low price, very capable of placing inside the top 10 or much better.
Mikko Korhonen $6,800 This player has done me well in the 2 events I have picked him so far. Finishing 2nd on both occasions. I'll be honest this is more of a gut feeling play. He has an exceptional course management game and has a good track record on more difficult strategic courses. would be amazing if he can continue my role however of course id be happy with a T20 at this price.
Alexander Bjork $6,700 Another player with fantastic accuracy attributes, he also has the correct temperament to remain patient and dig deep when needed. Has been a very consistent cut maker all year and his best performances have come on ball strikers courses.
A little 'je ne sais quoi'
I will also consider mixing in some extra firepower into my line ups for GPP contest. The players I'm looking at to achieve that are: Thomas Pieters. Peter Uihlien, Thomas Detry and Ian Poulter.
Anyway ladies and gents that's me done for another week, as always I will have my fingers crossed for all your line ups and look forward to answering any questions you have.