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Highlights on Off The Ball

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the Cazoo Open de France

Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on...

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan'...

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the Cazoo Open de France

Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!

It's going to be a successful 2022 for Virtual Insanity.

The virtual pot for 2022 is at €1333 from €1000 after six winners this year, at prices of 80/1, 66/1, 25/1, 25/1, 16/1 and 16/1.

It will be guaranteed profit for the year, to add to last year's final profit tally of 46.5% for 2021.

With the Presidents Cup the main event across the Atlantic, this week's tournament of focus is the DP World Tour's Open de France, staged at Le Golf National, just outside Paris.

The French Open has not been held since 2019, but it's a regular event in Europe - Le Golf National has been the host venue since 1991.

The par 71 course showcased the 2018 Ryder Cup, which was won emphatically by Europe over the USA. One may remember 'Moliwood', as Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood beat the Americans out the gate.

This is a course which rewards accurate play. Water hazards and deep rough are in play and strategy is the key this week.

The tournament starts at 6.50am Irish time on Thursday.

Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Boyle Sports and Betway offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top eight places. Other bookmakers are offering better prices, but lesser each way terms. I will mark the recommended price and applicable terms beside each selection.

Our headline selection is Rasmus Hojgaard for €4 each way at 28/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

This is a tournament which may be won by an experienced, accurate, unflashy type, but I am also drawn to the 'class acts' in the field - those that have the talent that may separate them from the rest. Dane Rasmus Hojgaard marked himself down as a star of the future by winning the Mauritius Open as an 18 year old on only his fifth European Tour appearance. He's added another two victories and at 21 years of age, everything is ahead of him. Hojgaard does bomb it off the tee, so he will have to temper that at this track, but he is playing nicely, having closed with a 66 last Sunday in Italy. That followed a top 20 at Wentworth. Hojgaard possesses the fearlessness of youth, natural talent and a winning mentality. He's the headline pick this week.

Our second selection is Victor Perez for €3 each way at 18/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

Every French player lining up this week will dream of winning their national title, and of all of them, Victor Perez has the best credentials right now. He won the Dunhill Links in 2019 and finished second in the BMW PGA Championship a year later. A fourth place finish followed in the WGC Matchplay in 2021 before his form deserted him. Perez bounced back by winning the Dutch Open earlier this year and his game is once again in good nick, as he posted four rounds under par to finish solo third at last week's Italian Open. Perez is a solid tee to green player and that's what's required here. He finished in a tie for 16th in the French Open back in 2019.

Our third selection is Wil Besseling for €3 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Paddy Power, Betfair). 

It's a bit of a shot in the dark to select a Dutch golfer who has never won on the European Tour, nor teed it up in the French Open, but I have kept an eye on Wil Besseling, who has a decent record at tough courses, of which this is one. He played very well for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open in Boston earlier this year before fading. He was second at the European Open in Hamburg back in June when the winning score was 6 under par and he has a previous high finish to his name at the difficult Valderamma. Besseling is a good ball striker who just needs a decent week on the greens. The propensity of Le Golf National to level the playing field by penalising those who are more wayward off the tee and with their approaches could give him a chance.

Our fourth selection is Soren Kjeldsen for €2 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Betfred). 

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen is now 47 years of age, but he can still play if his performance at Wentworth is anything to go by. A second round of 64 helped him to a share of fifth place, so there's not a lot wrong with his game - he was also tied seventh at the Hero Open in July. Kjeldsen likes his place - he has posted ten top twenty finishes at the French Open going back to 1998 - and three of those were results inside the top ten. So he is fond of the venue, he's playing well and it's a week which demands strategy. Look, he hasn't won since the 2015 Irish Open, but there are worse outsiders.

Our final selection is Mike Lorenzo Vera for €1.50 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betway, Coral). 

There is a hope for some karma in that Mike Lorenzo Vera has been brave in calling out LIV Golf for what it is - he has championed the integrity of the DP World Tour in his public comments this year. Lorenzo Vera's form has dipped since the disruption of the pandemic - he had seven top ten finishes in 2019. His putting statistics remain decent and perhaps he can conjure some magic out of nowhere in front of his own supporters - the 37 year old tied for third in this tournament in 2017 and tied sixth in 2015. The surroundings should elicit good memories for him.

So that's €27 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home!

Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!

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