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After an enthralling Italian Open at next year’s Ryder Cup venue, the DP World Tour moves on to Le Golf National, scene of one of Europe’s finest hours, a 17.5-10.5 victory at the 2018 running of the bi-annual festival.

With Valderrama on the schedule in three weeks’ time, the tour showcases a trio of its best courses within a month, and whilst deserving of a better field than present in France this week, the tournament should again provide viewers with a treat.

With the lowest winning total since 2000 being 16-under, and an average of 11-under, the focus is very much on a strong tee-to-green
game. The rough is up, the greens are tricky, and scrambling is difficult. Those with low confidence in any aspect of their game need not apply.

2019 winner Nicolas Colsaerts somewhat went against the grain when winning via a long driving game, certainly compared to the likes of runner-up J.B Hansen and third-placed George Coetzee, as well as previous winners Jaidee, McDowell and Levet. Like the differing results at the Marco Simone course over the last two runnings, we should resume normal service, with bombers not having so much of an advantage.

In a hard event to weigh up, here are this week’s best bets.

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*Prices subject to change

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Open de France 2022
Golf

Live odds subject to change

James Morrison / Jean-Baptiste Gonnet
Golf

Tie15/2

Jean-Baptiste Gonnet13/8

James Morrison8/13

Live odds subject to change

Open de France 2022 - 4th round
Golf

Tom Vaillant20/23

Ricardo Santos5/6

Live odds subject to change

Francesco Laporta / Niall Kearney
Golf

Tie15/2

Niall Kearney5/4

Francesco Laporta5/6

Live odds subject to change

Gavin Green / Huilin Zhang / Joakim Lagergren
Golf

Joakim Lagergren6/4

Huilin Zhang7/2

Gavin Green21/20

Live odds subject to change

Marc Warren / Niklas Lemke / Scott Hend
Golf

Marc Warren19/10

Scott Hend7/4

Niklas Lemke6/4

Live odds subject to change

Alvaro Quiros / Hurly Long / Tapio Pulkkanen
Golf

Hurly Long13/10

Tapio Pulkkanen7/4

Alvaro Quiros9/4

Live odds subject to change

Adrien Saddier / Carlos Pigem / Joachim B. Hansen
Golf

Adrien Saddier6/4

Carlos Pigem12/5

Joachim B. Hansen7/5

Live odds subject to change

Grant Forrest / Santiago Tarrio / Soren Kjeldsen
Golf

Santiago Tarrio13/8

Grant Forrest7/4

Soren Kjeldsen9/5

Live odds subject to change

Hennie du Plessis / Nicolas Colsaerts / Zander Lombard
Golf

Zander Lombard19/10

Hennie du Plessis6/5

Nicolas Colsaerts12/5

Live odds subject to change

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia / Kristoffer Broberg / Marcel Siem
Golf

Marcel Siem13/8

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia19/10

Kristoffer Broberg17/10

Live odds subject to change

Alexander Bjork / Matthieu Pavon / Nicolai Hojgaard
Golf

Matthieu Pavon2/1

Nicolai Hojgaard7/4

Alexander Bjork6/4

Live odds subject to change

Dale Whitnell / Johannes Veerman / Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez
Golf

Johannes Veerman13/10

Dale Whitnell8/5

Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez5/2

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Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Lukas Nemecz / Thorbjorn Olesen
Golf

Thorbjorn Olesen5/4

Lukas Nemecz23/10

Kiradech Aphibarnrat9/5

Live odds subject to change

Darius Van Driel / Maximilian Kieffer / Sami Valimaki
Golf

Darius Van Driel11/5

Sami Valimaki13/8

Maximilian Kieffer7/5

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Jazz Janewattananond / Ricardo Santos / Sean Crocker
Golf

Ricardo Santos23/10

Sean Crocker13/10

Jazz Janewattananond17/10

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David Horsey / Marcel Schneider / Martin Couvra
Golf

David Horsey13/8

Marcel Schneider1/1

Martin Couvra7/2

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Adrian Meronk / Jeff Winther / Julien Brun
Golf

Adrian Meronk21/20

Julien Brun21/10

Jeff Winther12/5

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Julien-Alexandre Sale / Matthew Southgate / Ricardo Gouveia
Golf

Ricardo Gouveia19/10

Matthew Southgate21/20

Julien-Alexandre Sale14/5

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Alex Fitzpatrick / Nicolai von Dellingshausen / Robert MacIntyre
Golf

Alex Fitzpatrick3/1

Nicolai von Dellingshausen12/5

Robert MacIntyre5/6

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Jonathan Caldwell / Julian Suri / Lucas Bjerregaard
Golf

Lucas Bjerregaard13/10

Julian Suri19/10

Jonathan Caldwell2/1

Live odds subject to change

Adrian Otaegui / Scott Jamieson / Tom Vaillant
Golf

Tom Vaillant7/2

Scott Jamieson8/5

Adrian Otaegui21/20

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Guido Migliozzi / Tom Lewis / Victor Perez
Golf

Guido Migliozzi2/1

Tom Lewis11/5

Victor Perez6/5

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Andrew Wilson / Jamie Donaldson / Jordan Smith
Golf

Jamie Donaldson15/8

Jordan Smith20/21

Andrew Wilson10/3

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Antoine Rozner / Paul Barjon / Yannik Paul
Golf

Yannik Paul13/8

Paul Barjon13/5

Antoine Rozner6/5

Live odds subject to change

George Coetzee / Rasmus Hojgaard / Thomas Pieters
Golf

George Coetzee23/10

Thomas Pieters23/20

Rasmus Hojgaard21/10

Live odds subject to change

Antoine Rozner

French ace to give the home crowd something to cheer

There are few of the top lot that can be ruled out.

All of Thomas Pieters, Jordan Smith, Ryan Fox and Victor Perez appear very high on the season-long tee-to-green lists. The Englishman was the first one on my list but, at 20/1, he can be left alone, especially given I would have expected him to have done better than a best of 21st in three outings here.

Nevertheless, his is the type of game needed for here and with home support probably a boon, plump for Antoine Rozner to make the Gallic crowd go wild for the first time since Levet’s victory in 2011.

Since his last couple of appearances in his home country – ninth and 13th on the Challenge Tour – the 29-year-old has won in Dubai and Qatar in contrasting styles.

The first saw him putt the lights out to win in 25-under, whilst the more relevant victory was at wind-affected Education City, where he grinded out a one-shot victory in eight under-the-card, a final hole 60-plus foot putt sealing the deal.

2022 has been good.

The record of two top-10s in Spain and Crans disguise four further top-20 finishes, and that he was inside the top-10 after round two of the BMW International, round one of the Czech Masters, and rounds one and three at Glagorm Castle.

Indeed, it was after the first of those that he announced he was very happy with the way his game was trending, and, true to his word, his tee-to-green play has been nothing short of stunning.

Since July, he has averaged a ranking of ninth for approaches, two of those efforts rating him leading the field for tee-to-green. Using the older stats, Rozner has recent greens-in-regulation figures of 21/2/2/7/34/5, perfect for a course that will penalise anyone that constantly misses the short stuff.

There may well be a current issue about his putting, but that is true of all the better ball-strikers. After all, it would be nigh impossible to beat them if every facet was ranking in the top five.

Rozner is bound to know this course better than his ‘debutante’ status, so take him to prove himself in a very beatable field.

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Ewen Ferguson

Flying Scotsman to bag win number three

Qatar seems a bit of a theme with Ewen Ferguson taking the next spot in the plan.

The Scot owes us nothing after two wins this year for the Players To Follow in 2022 column, but I’m not sure he is quite finished yet.

Slightly naïve when in front on Sunday at the Kenya Open, his next two starts might show finishes of 61st and 40th but, again, they disguise better play than the record shows – Fergie was 11th after three rounds at the MyGolfLife and just outside the top-20 at halfway at Steyn City.

That experience no doubt led to a grinding victory – another to be seen in Qatar – where his solid tee-to-green game outlasted most of his opposition.

The game has continued in that vein, with a 12th place at Celtic Manor (7th after three rounds) being a fine correlation with this week’s track, followed by his second victory of the year at Galgorm Castle.

Probably his best effort was in Himmerland at the beginning of the month, when his all-round game was in superb shape, only giving way to a ridiculous pair of putts by Oliver Wilson. As he did in Ireland, Ferguson led the tee-to-green figures via both driving and irons, whilst his scrambling game was also highly ranked.

Despite the smiles, he may have been feeling that defeat when missing the cut at Wentworth, a course that doesn’t suit everyone on debut, and look at his price – over twice that of players that often fail to convert winning chances.

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Jorge Campillo

Steady Spaniard to stake a claim

At the same price, the mercurial Jorge Campillo is well worth backing to continue a solid bank of recent and course form.

Rather like previous Spanish winners of the French Open, the 36-year-old (yes, I thought he was older than that, too) has that capability to get out of trouble with the short game so identifiable with his compatriots.

One missed cut in his last nine starts shows he has a belief in his overall game, whilst six consecutive cuts sees him in the sort of form that should enable him to challenge for his third European victory, after Morocco and (here we go again) Qatar.

Again his record shows just a couple of top-10 finishes this year, but he was in fourth place going into the final round at Kenya, top 10 for the middle rounds in Belgium, led the Irish Open at halfway and was in the final group on Sunday, whilst he closed late last weekend when it turned tricky in Italy.

With an 8th, 15th and 18th in six starts around here, it’s that ability to grind out a result that gives him claims this week. Campillo isn’t a strong birdie machine, so a winning score of around 10 to 12-under will do just fine.

Marcel Schneider and Romain Langasque both tempted me at the prices, but whilst the former is in flying form, his record shows he improves after a first sighting at a course, so monitor him for a quiet debut and back him next year! As for the French native, he really should do well if his win at Celtic Manor and his home record has anything in them. The issue is that, at the moment, he is hitting it sideways off the tee and unable to recover with his irons – not a great combo around a tight track.

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Marcus Kinhult

Kinhult to be pick of the Swedes

Instead, take a chance on Marcus Kinhult, who beat Robert MacIntyre, Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace to the British Masters in 2019, held at the links of Hillside, his sole victory on tour to date.

The Swede, whose tee-to-green game doesn’t give him as much reward as it may be ought to, followed that win by making a tough up-and-down at the final hole of that season’s Nedbank Challenge to join Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off, both having come from off the pace at the start of the day.

Unfortunately, that one didn’t go his way, but he has continued to bank a solid record, including top-10 finishes in Qatar (hello, again), The Renaissance Club and Wentworth through 2020, before a personal nightmare.

As he explained in his DP World Tour blog, the 26-year-old started suffering with dizzy spells, eventually diagnosed with epilepsy. In terms of golf, we can put a red line through the 2021 form.

Fortunately, the condition is now under control and having worked his way through the Nordic Golf League, where in two events he finished ninth and first, arrived at full fitness at Kenya to finish inside the top-10, before a closing third in Qatar (hello…oh, ok.)

Whilst he couldn’t capitalise on a place in the final two-ball at The Belfry, it was a good warm-up for a return to Hillside, where he would finish a never-nearer third, following that effort with a pair of 23rd place finishes at the Czech Masters and Crans.

It is worth noting that his best efforts in 2018 were in Qatar, at Wentworth and around here (when finishing in fifth place), whilst the last time the French Open was played here, he again finished quickly to be just outside the top-10.

Kinhult has ranked top-12 for driving accuracy in his last three completed outings, and in the top-20 for scrambling in five of eight starts. This is his track.

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Odds are correct at the time of posting

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