- The European Tour field is stronger than the PGA Tour’s this week.
- Le Golf National will host the Ryder Cup in September, so players get an early look.
- Jon Rahm has been dominant in Europe and should continue that run of form in France this weekend.
The golf world’s attention will shift away from the PGA Tour and toward the European Tour this week.
Le Golf National hosts a stronger field than the one at the Quicken Loans National as many of the best players in Europe get a look at this year’s Ryder Cup course. Those just outside of qualifying will try to gain valuable points and impress captain Thomas Bjorn.
Like with many of the stronger fields in golf this year, there’s balance at the top of the betting odds this week.
Justin Thomas, the lone American Ryder Cup participant to get an early look at the course, opened as a +1100 favorite. Meanwhile, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are all likely to tee it up for team Europe and are all under +2000.
I’ve targeted one of these elite players along with a couple of longer shots to back in this event.
Open de France 2018 betting odds (via Bookmaker)
Jon Rahm (+1361, Bookmaker)
Of this group, I’m targeting Rahm. In the last two years, Rahm has played six events that are solely part of the European Tour. He’s won three of them, including the last two. Plus they’ve been in solid fields at the Spanish Open and Tour Championship.
Taking a further look at his future odds, Rahm is +1800 to win the PGA Championship in August. We’re getting close to that number in a field that’s missing Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day to name just a few. So +1361 seems to offer value in a weaker field.
Soren Kjeldsen (+7000, Sportsbook)
Kjeldsen popped for me because he’s got a great track record on this course. In his last 11 appearances, he’s finished in the top 10 three times and top 20 on seven occasions. Kjeldsen has also returned to form recent after struggling much of last year. He finished T-7 a week ago in Germany and has three top-25 finishes in his last five starts.
I also like Kjeldsen because he fits the profile of previous winners here. When we get outside of the elite players who have won here, such as Fleetwood, it’s been the shorter, more accurate hitters off the tee, such as Graeme McDowell. That fits Kjeldsen’s games perfectly, and we’ve seen that in his results during the last decade.
Kjeldsen’s odds are much lower at Bookmaker, but he’s available at 70-1 at Sportsbook.ag.
Aaron Rai (+8350, Bookmaker)
My final play is Rai, the English up-and-comer. The 23-year-old was on my card last week at the BMW International and cashed a top 5 at +2000. I’m going back to the well again here because, like Kjeldsen, he’s accurate off the tee, ranking seventh in Europe this year. He’s also 29th in strokes gained off the tee despite being one of the shortest hitters on Tour.
For Rai, it simply comes down to whether the irons are clicking. He hits a lot of greens in regulation, but is losing strokes with the approach. If he can take advantage of the extra fairways he hits and give himself some better birdie looks, he’ll have a chance to contend again this week. He won three times last season on the Challenge Tour, Europe’s version of the Web.com Tour. It’s just a matter of taking that leap on the next stage. With both Kjeldsen and Rai, I’ll be adding in top 5’s at +1200 and +1600 in addition to betting on a victory.