Le Golf National will be hosting this week’s Open de France and it also hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup, the most recent edition held on European soil.
The Europeans won that week, 17.5 to 11.5. Many analysts cited the difficulty of the course and the importance of finding the fairway that week, as a reason it suited them strategically over the Americans who were better suited for a bomb-and-gouge layout.
While the course won’t get the full Ryder Cup setup treatment, it always proves to be a test tough for this event. The scoring average for this event over the last four editions is 72.2 (+1.2 RTP).
Some Like it Tough
I just laid out the difficulty of Le Golf National in recent years. We can go back even further though and the picture is still painted the same.
Guido Migliozzi won last year on 16-under and that was considered an easy-scoring year by the course’s standards. The median winning score over the last 10 editions played at Le Golf National is just 10-under with Pablo Larrazabal (2008), Phillip Golding (2003), and Colin Montgomerie (2000) being the only other golfers since 2000 to crack 15-under or lower at week’s end.
Here are the top performers in adjusted strokes gained per round when playing on tough courses, over the last two years:
Min Woo Lee
We can also look at performance versus baseline to see who shows the largest increase in performance compared to their typical scores:
Overlap List: Names that show up on both lists include Adrian Otaegui, Julien Guerrier, Ewen Ferguson, Simon Forsstrom, and Connor Syme.
Open de Otaegui
The Spaniard has a touch of form at the moment. He’s bagged six straight paydays, kicked off with a T-55 finish at The Open Championship in late July. The straight shooter is well equipped to be playing from the fairways at Le Golf National and that has proved to be the case in recent trips. Otaegui has finished T-13 or better in three of his last four visits to the course. If you’re leaning on precision and/or course history then Otaegui should be a top priority this week.
Third time the charm for Connor Syme?
While Otaegui is riding a bit of decent form, Syme is surfing on a wave of huge momentum at the moment. Syme arrives with four straight top-10 finishes, going T-3, T-4, T-7, T-10 over his last four lead-in starts. As you see from the lists above, his profile grades out well for tougher courses. That’s why I like his chances of finally cracking the code of Le Golf National, with missed cuts in his previous two tries (2018, 2022).