Last week was a bit of a challenge (for everyone) with a lot of the chalk missing the cut on Friday. Casualties included Danny Willett, Rikard Karlberg, and Tyrrell Hatton. Ultimately, Henrik Stenson got a much-needed win, much to the dismay of those of us who rostered him at the U.S. Open. This week, we have a star-studded field at the Open de France.
Due to scheduling and double Ryder Cup points up for grabs, the Open de France has attracted many of the top European players. Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bernd Wiesberger, Martin Kaymer, and Francesco Molinari are only some of the world’s best who will be competing.
The Albatross Course at Le Golf National is the host of the 100th edition of the Open de France, and is the 2018 Ryder Cup site. The course has undergone some minor upgrades recently, and word is, the course is playing long and tough. It’s not a links-style course per se, but usually plays fast and firm. It’s a 7,249 yard par-71 course, with water looming throughout the finishing holes which is bound to produce drama. The event has been hosted here basically every year since 1991, so there’s plenty of course history to find. I’m going to key in on ball-strikers again, but also take a look at driving distance, since players have said the course is playing very long.
- Driving distance
- Greens in regulation
- Driving Accuracy
Martin Kaymer ($10,900) – The stats won’t pop out when you look at Kaymer, but you can’t ignore his course history and recent form. He’s finished in the top-13 here in seven of his last nine attempts, including a win in 2009. Struggled a big on the weekend at the U.S. Open, but prior to that, he had finished 5th and 7th in his last two European Tour events.
Francesco Molinari ($10,400) – Molinari was one shot away from qualifying for the Open Championship last week at Quicken Loans, so he should be extra-motivated this week. Since 2010, he has a 6th and two runner-up finishes at this event, and comes in off an 8th place finish at Congressional.
Bernd Wiesberger ($9,900) – I don’t often target defending champions, but I think Bernd gets the job done again this year. The French Open has had back-to-back champions before, including GMac in 2013-14. Wiesberger ranks 2nd in my statistical model this week and come in with two top-10s in his last three events on Tour.
Andy Sullivan ($9,200) – Sully isn’t usually a player I like to roster, because he’s a grinder who makes a ton of pars. But his form seems to be turning around (three straight top-25s) and he finished 6th at this event last year. Sullivan hits greens at a high rate and ranks 7th overall in my statistical model.
The Value Mid-Tier:
Joost Luiten ($8,900) – Although Luiten has a shaky course history, this price is just too low for how well he’s been playing all season. Luiten seems to always put himself in the mix and is an extremely accurate player. He ranks 3rd in my stats model this week and should provide great value at this discounted price.
Gregory Bourdy ($8,600) – Similar to Luiten, Bourdy is extremely underpriced for his recent form. In his last 4 events, he’s gone 18th (U.S. Open), 6th, 15th, and 10th. Bourdy ranks 4th in my model this week with the only downfall his lack of distance. At this event, he’s finished in the top-35 each of the past three seasons.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($8,200) – The theme of the week is underpriced studs, and we have another on in RCB. I can’t imagine making a cash team lineup without him. He finished 5th here last year, and has been one of the most consistent Europeans all season. He ranks 7th in my model this week and is a super value at this price.
Tyrrell Hatton ($7,600) – One missed cut last week dropped the price on Hatton by $2,000, which is nice. In 5 events prior to the MC, he went 20th, 7th, 5th, 13th, and 12th. For this price, he’s a must-play in all formats. Oh, and he ranks 1st in my statistical model. Oh, and he finished 12th here last year.
Pablo Larrazabal ($7,600) – The only thing keeping me away from 100% Tyrrell Hatton is the fact that Pablo Larrazabal is the same price. A past winner at this event, he’s rounding back into form with a 12th and a 9th place finish in his past three events. Larrazabal ranks 10th in my stats model this week, and is another player who hits a ton of greens. He’s a little more boom-or-bust than Hatton is.
Raphael Jacquelin ($7,300) – I whiffed big time on Jacquelin last week, but it’s time to hop aboard for his national championship. He’s finished 8th and 4th in his past two events, and has past success here (3rd in 2012). Because he’s a short hitter, he didn’t crack the top-10 in my statistical model this week, but I’ll still have some shares.
Richard Bland ($7,000) – Bland is the Charles Howell III of the European Tour right now… a consistent cut-maker who posts a ton of top-35 finishes. He ranks 8th in my model this week and finished 15th at this event last year.
Lee Slattery ($6,800) – My first punt play is Lee Slattery, who is a GIR and Accuracy player who seems to be rounding back into form. Slatts ranks 5th in my statistical model this week, and finished 13th last week at the BMW International. He’s made his last two cuts here, and I think that trend continues this week, with some top-15 upside.
Magnus Carlsson ($6,700) – Another consistent player who is extremely underpriced. Carlsson ranks 9th in my model and has been hitting a ton of greens the past few weeks. He’s finished top-30 each of the past three events and has finished top-35 at the French Open each of the past two seasons. A great value here.
Chris Hanson ($6,600) – I’m just going to copy and paste what I wrote about Hanson last week:
“Chris Hanson ($6,700) – If they keep under-pricing Hanson, I’ll keep playing him. He’s made his last four cuts on Tour, with a 10th, 25th, 34th, and 5th. Buy your stock while he’s still in this price range, because he’ll be in the $8k range in a month.
Hanson came through last week with another made cut again and a 38th place finish. If you’re looking for another solid option at this price, take a look at Graeme Storm ($6,500).
Damien Perrier ($6,100) – Fancy Water is my deep scrub play of the week, sticking with the French national theme. But don’t get me wrong…there’s some merit here. Perrier ranks 3rd this season on the European Challenge Tour (the web.com Tour equivalent), and his recent results are, well, stellar. In his last five events, he’s made all five cuts and has a win, 3rd, 7th, and a 12th place finish. Definitely worth a shot.
Good luck this week!