Albatros Course, Le Golf National, Paris, France. Designer: Hubert Chesneau, 1990; Par: 71; Length: 7,247 yards; Water Hazards: 6; Fairways: Bent/Rye/Fescue; Rough: Bent/Rye/Fescue; Greens: Bent/Meadow Grass, 12’6″ on the stimp.
Course Overview. Le Golf National is always set up strongly for this event and danger lurks on many holes if you miss fairways with water at the start and end of each round.
The 7,247 yard, par-71 stadium course was designed to test the very best golfers with a premium on accurate driving and, in particular, approaches to difficult, undulating greens. Missing greens isn’t a great option here as scrambling is tough, so attacking from the fairway has to be the only real strategy and finding the right parts of greens with any consistency is only really possible from the short stuff.
The last few renewals have seen a mix of dry conditions (2010, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2022) and wet (2011, 2012) and a combination of both (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019); wet or dry the rough here is amongst the very toughest on the DP World Tour, plus some of the holes are pretty brutal in terms of length – the 17th (480 yards) and 18th (471 yards) will play amongst the most difficult on the week.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2022: Guido Migliozzi, 80/1; 2019: Nicolas Colsaerts, 100/1; 2018: Alex Noren, 16/1; 2017: Tommy Fleetwood, 22/1; 2016: Thongchai Jaidee, 66/1; 2015: Bernd Wiesberger, 33/1; 2014: Graeme McDowell, 12/1; 2013: Graeme McDowell, 25/1; 2012: Marcel Siem, 70/1; 2011: Thomas Levet, 140/1; 2010: Miguel Angel Jimenez, 80/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the region is here.
Fairly mixed conditions are expected in Paris this week with sunshine and showers on Thursday and Friday giving way to a more settled weekend. Temperatures will edge towards 70 Fahrenheit in the afternoons with winds in the 10-15mph range, dropping off over Saturday and Sunday.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Analysing the final stats of the past 11 winners at Le Golf National gives us a little more insight into the type of player suited to this test:
2022, Guido Migliozzi (-16). 50% fairways (44th), 73.6% greens in regulation (14th), 84.2% scrambling (1st), 1.68 putts per GIR (7th)
2019, Nicolas Colsaerts (-12). 57.1% fairways (33rd), 77.8% greens in regulation (3rd), 55.0% scrambling (30th), 1.68 putts per GIR (9th)
2018, Alex Noren (-7). 75% fairways (2nd), 75% greens in regulation (5th), 55.6% scrambling (8th), 1.76 putts per GIR (37th)
2017, Tommy Fleetwood (-12). 76.8% fairways (3rd), 84.7% greens in regulation (1st), 63.6% scrambling (9th), 1.84 putts per GIR (53rd)
2016, Thongchai Jaidee (-11). 62.5% fairways (22nd), 69.% greens in regulation (18th), 68.2% scrambling (2nd), 1.68 putts per GIR (3rd)
2015, Bernd Wiesberger (-13). 55.4% fairways (45th), 81.9% greens in regulation (2nd), 76.9% scrambling (3rd), 1.80 putts per GIR (33rd)
2014, Graeme McDowell (-5). 62.5% fairways (17th), 68.1% greens in regulation (22nd), 56.5% scrambling (15th), 1.69 putts per GIR (4th).
2013, Graeme McDowell (-9). 71.4% fairways (15th), 79.2% greens in regulation (1st), 73.3% scrambling (2nd), 1.76 putts per GIR (29th).
2012, Marcel Siem (-8). 73.2% fairways (2nd), 73.6% greens in regulation (3rd), 63.2% scrambling (4th), 1.78 putts per GIR (32nd).
2011, Thomas Levet (-7). 67.9% fairways (38th), 73.6% greens in regulation (3rd), 68.4% scrambling (8th), 1.77 putts per GIR (19th).
2010, Miguel Angel Jimenez (-11). 76.8% fairways (16th), 77.8% greens in regulation (11th), 56.3% scrambling (38th), 1.64 putts per GIR (3rd).
Le Golf National is perennially described as a course where tee-to-green excellence prevails and I agree with that to an extent; however minimising bogeys with an excellent short game shouldn’t be underestimated here either.
For a player to contend here they’re going to have to find the vast majority of greens in regulation or minimise bogeys with an excellent week around the greens; the winner is ultimately likely to excel in one or both areas over the four days.
On the subject of scrambling, last year’s winner Guido Migliozzi led the field with 84.2% here 12 months ago, continuing a solid trend we’ve seen from winners and contenders here at Paris National.
Continuing the same theme, 6 of the top 7 finishers in 2019 ranked inside the top 17 for getting up and down. Alex Noren sat 8th on that count after 72 holes in 2018; Tommy Fleetwood ranked 9th the year before and runner-up Peter Uihlein led the field with an excellent 82.6%. Thongchai Jaidee ranked 2nd in the field for getting the ball up and down in 2016; players ranked 1st to 5th for scrambling finished inside the top 6 overall in 2015; 1st, 2nd and 6th for scrambling finished inside the final top 5 in 2014; likewise in 2013 players ranked 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th for scrambling finished inside the top 6; 2012 had players ranked 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th for scrambling finish inside the top 4 and 2011 had similar stats with 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th ranked players for scrambling finishing inside the top 7.
This all makes sense when you consider that the greens here are designed to be played firm and fast so they’ll be difficult to hold for all but the very best tee-to-green practitioners in anything but soft conditions.
Stroke Gained Stats: From a Strokes Gained perspective, we only have the 2019 and 2022 events to go on, however those renewals do give us a few clues.
Eventual winners Guido Migliozzi and Nicolas Colsaerts both excelled from a SG Approach and SG Tee to Green perspective, with Migiozzi’s short game and putting offsetting Colsaerts’ off the tee performance.
The plot thickens a little though when the closest challengers are reviewed as Rasmus Hojgaard (2nd) and Thomas Pieters (tied 3rd) ranked 1st and 2nd for SG Putting on the week; similar 2019 runner-up JB Hansen ranked 2nd for SG Putting. As ever, there are different ways to get into contention here.
Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.
Incoming Form: Form-wise there’s a really mixed bag when looking at the winners in recent years. Guido Migliozzi’s solitary top 10 finish in 2022 had come in Holland back in May, and he’d missed 11 cuts in total in the year before finding a little more consistency in the weeks leading up to his victory here 12 months ago.
Nicolas Colsaerts is another case in point from 2019 with a solitary top-20 finish to his name in his previous 11 starts. That effort was on his penultimate start though at the Spanish Open where he closed with a round of 64, so there was a little bit of positivity to latch onto.
Alex Noren was clearly in good nick in 2018 having recorded 4 consecutive top-25 finishes, as was Tommy Fleetwood who’d finished 4th at the US Open and 6th at the BMW International Open immediately prior to his success here 5 years ago; Jaidee hadn’t recorded a single top-10 finish in 2016 prior to winning; Wiesberger had finished 27th in Germany the week before and 2nd in Ireland, however in between those results were 4 missed cuts; McDowell improved on his 6th place finish in Ireland on his previous start before defending his title 8 years ago and was in the middle of his win-or-bust run when he arrived here the year before with form of MC/1/MC/1/MC/MC/MC; Marcel Siem was in decent nick with 4 top-10s to his name in 2012 prior to victory, whereas Tomas Levet hadn’t recorded a top 10 all season prior to his emotional (and for him painful) victory the year before.
Jimenez had missed 3 cuts in his last 5 attempts before his triumph here in 2010; Kaymer was coming into form in 2009 when he won, however he’d missed the cut the week before; Larrazabal was a shock outsider who came through qualifying in 2008; Storm had managed a couple of top 10s in his last 10 starts in 2007; Bickerton had missed 4 of 5 cuts in 2006 and Remesy’s successful defence in 2005 came off the back of a very poor season. All in all a very mixed bag.
2010, Miguel Angel Jimenez: 52/12/17/17/MC/MC/8/MC/49
Course Form (back to 2010): It’s also interesting to note that 13 of the past 16 winners here had previously recorded a top-25 or better on this course prior to their success, so looking for players with a decent enough track record here has generally proven to be a positive strategy.
Tommy Fleetwood’s win in 2017 blew that logic apart though as he’d previously failed to make the weekend on all four attempts here before winning his second title of the season, and last year’s winner Guido Migliozzi had missed the cut on his only previous attempt, however generally that trend has held firm.
Since 2010, course form of the winners here is as follows:
2022, Guido Migliozzi: MC
2019, Nicolas Colsaerts: 23/53/MC/54/MC/11/11/59/MC/22/55/MC
2011, Thomas Levet: MC/MC/MC/50/15/34/68/MC/58/30/69/MC
2010, Miguel Angel Jimenez: MC/23/23/8/55/MC/MC/66/25
With a little breeze in the forecast to start the event, Le Golf National will as ever demand strong ball-striking as well as a competent short game from players who have aspirations of taking the title on Sunday. Le Golf National is often described as having inland links characteristics and players with a liking for that style of golf often excel here.