Pablo Larrazabal records shock French Open victory

When looking at the golf odds for the French Open before it began, not many people would have picked out Spanish rookie Pablo Larrazabal as a potential winner of the tournament. However, after holding the lead since the opening day, the 25-year-old held on to win his first PGA European Tour title.

Pablo Larrazabal recorded his win after finishing with a round of 67 and an overall score of 15-under. The man chasing him right until the end was Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie. However, the European Ryder Cup favourite eventually finished four strokes behind the eventual winner.  Finishing in third place was Denmark’s Soren Hansen.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t actually too many scares for Pablo Larrazabal on the final day. The closest he came to surrendering his lead was when he hit a double-bogey on the ninth to leave Colin Montgomorie just two strokes behind him. However, he recorded birdied the 15th and 18th – two of seven birdies he managed in his final round – to extend his lead once again.

Pablo Larrazabal then putted for par in his final two holes to help himself to French Open glory. If the pride of winning wasn’t enough, he received a cheque for £527,800 as well – it was quite a day for the young Spaniard.

In terms of British players contesting in this tournament, Lee Westwood ended up on 7-under, a rather disappointing 8 shots off the lead. The trio of Oliver Fisher, Paul McGinley and John Bickerton finished on five-under, while 20-year-old English amateur Danny Willett finished 17th with an overall score of four-under.

As for Pablo Larrazabal, there has been some discussion whether he can make a late bid for Europe’s Ryder Cup team after this success. For now though, I advise him to enjoy his moment and use it as a platform for the rest of his career to build on. Well played Pablo! It’s been quite a week for the Spanish hasn’t it?

Lee Westwood going well in the French Open

As predicted by many, Lee Westwood is having a good time of it in Paris as he competes in the French Open. The English golfer recorded a three-under 68 in round two to move to within two strokes of surprise leader Pablo Larrazabal, who is a Spanish tour rookie.

Despite presumably being delighted with leading the French Open at this stage, it could have been a lot better for Pablo Larrazabal. The Spanish golfer recorded three birdies in four holes to storm into a four shot lead, but he bogeyed both the 16th and 17th holes to finish with a one-under 70. With his lack of experience at this level, he must now be wary of Lee Westwood’s threat. Pablo Larrazabal is ranked 481st in the world and is bound to be intimidated by Lee Westwood – who is ranked 17th – when realising that the English golfer was hot on his heals.

A look at French Open betting would, I presume, suggest that Larrazabal isn’t expected to hold onto his lead. It would be quite something if he did, but with Westwood and now Angel Cabrera decreasing his lead with every hole – I can’t see him holding out. It’s all a bit too close for comfort at the moment.

The likes of Colin Montgomorie and Soren Hansen are only three shots behind the leader, with the latter looking to do all he can to force his way into Europe’s Ryder Cup team. If he was to win in Paris, Soren Hansen would move significantly up the Ryder Cup rankings from his current position of 11th. To be part of Europe’s team would be a huge honour for anyone and Soren Hansen will be using it as motivation to finish as high as possible in this week’s French Open.

England’s Oliver Fisher, Ireland’s Paul Lawrie and Spain’s Ignacio Garrido are other players still in with a shout of French Open glory as the tournament starts to hot up on day two in Paris.

Luke Donald and Jose Maria Olazabal set to miss French Open

If you want to make a late push for entry in the European Ryder Cup team, this probably isn’t the best time to be pulling out of tournaments. Unfortunately though, Luke Donald – who is currently just missing out on a place in Nick Faldo’s team – has had to withdraw from this week’s French Open because of a wrist injury.

The injury occurred during the US Open and was forced to withdraw from the tournament during the final round. This is the second tournament that Luke Donald has missed out on since the US Open – he pulled out of the BMW International Open in Germany last week. His chances of making the team are diminishing by the day.

Someone else who has suffered the same fate – meaning they withdrew from the US Open before missing the International Open – is Ian Poulter. If a metatarsal injury is fashionable for England’s footballers, then it seems a wrist injury is the same for England’s golfers. Ian Poulter has been suffering with a similar injury to Luke Donald, but is expected to be fit for the French Open.

Another man missing out on the action in Paris this week is Jose Maria Olazabal. Nick Faldo’s assistant for Europe’s Ryder Cup team is reportedly suffering with fatigue. Apparently he is on medication for his problems, of which he is yet to get to the bottom of. Jose Maria Olazabal said that he was not himself and that he ‘didn’t know what to do’.

The Spanish golfer is targeting a return later this month, but there are several doubts about his mental state. Let’s hope the rest does him some good because he is a very popular man and one of golf’s greatest characters – get better soon Jose.

Anyway, of those that are gunning for glory in Paris this week, when it comes to betting on the French Open, my money is on Lee Westwood. He is in the best state physically he has been for a while and I think he has a rewarded mental toughness as well. We saw that in the final round of the US Open – he pushed Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate all the way.

If you want your money to be placed to the man at the top of the form table, then Robert Karlsson is your man. In his previous six tournaments, he hasn’t finished outside the top 10 and even managed a joint fourth finish at the US Open. The Swede has a great chance of winning the French Open, that’s for sure. As far as golf betting is concerned It’s him or Lee Westwood for me and I look forward to following every hole to see if I am right.