Open de France: Noren is sweet 16/1 shot

Open de France: Noren is sweet 16/1 shot

The European Tour makes its annual trip to Paris this week for the HNA Open de France, which is part of the lucrative Rolex Series and boasts a prize fund of $7million.

The event takes place at 2018 Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National and has attracted rising Spanish star Jon Rahm as part of a strong field which also features PGA Tour regulars Russell Knox and Ian Poulter.

World number 11 Rahm is the 12/1 favourite in the Open de France betting after his meteoric rise up the rankings since turning professional a year ago and has played the course once before as an amateur. However, he was last seen missing the cut at the US Open with a petulant, bag-kicking display of immaturity which followed an early exit from the Memorial Tournament, so we’re happy to leave him alone this week.

Second favourite Francesco Molinari has finished second in this event three times in the last seven years, but usually by compiling a low final round from well off the pace.

And that means the first of our Open de France betting tips is Sweden’s Alex Noren, a far more prolific winner than either Rahm or Molinari and who is available at 16/1 for what could be a sixth European Tour title in the last 11 months.

Noren’s career record at Le Golf National is nowhere near as good as Molinari’s, but the world number eight achieved his best finish of eighth last year, the week before kicking off his stunning run of success with victory in the Scottish Open.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry has not contested the Open de France since finishing 17th in 2012, with last year’s absence caused by the clash with his defence of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title.

Lowry was sixth behind Noren in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – where two late double bogeys ended his chances – and followed that up with a tie for 15th in the Memorial Tournament and a share of 46th in the US Open. While Erin Hills was not the sort of course which suited Lowry, the 30-year-old will enjoy reacquainting himself with the challenge posed by Le Golf National, especially with wind and rain in the forecast. He can be backed at 28/1.

Another player who likes tougher courses is England’s Andrew Johnston, whose sole European Tour victory to date came at Valderrama in the 2016 Spanish Open.

Johnston has struggled to build on that success and an attempt to cash in on his celebrity on the PGA Tour at the start of this season produced a solitary top-10 finish, but the man known as ‘Beef’ hinted at a return to form on his last two starts and offers value at 66/1.

Last but not least in our Open de France betting tips, former winner Graeme Storm – who beat Rory McIlroy in a play-off in South Africa in January – could reward a small investment in either the outright market (100/1) or at 80/1 to lead after the first round.