Can Strange bounce back at Wales Open
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2009 The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open | Preview | 03 Jun 2009
The Wales Open is played this week at Celtic Manor just to the north of Newport and the home of this event since 2000 when Steen Tinning won the inaugural staging of the event just twelve months after the opening of the Resort.
It was then known as the Wentwood Hills layout but the creation of the Twenty Ten Course in 2007 provided a new venue in 2008, although some of the new course is made up of several holes from the original Wentwood layout.
Named 2010 because it will host the Ryder Cup that year the event, the course was designed by Ross McMurray of European Golf Design a joint venture between IMG and the European Tour.
Last year Scott Strange won his first European Tour event when he defeated the very much in-form Robert Karlsson by four shots. Strange has confirmed that win by going on to claim the Volvo China Open this year. Strange has, however, missed each of his last four cuts since winning in China and a successful defence would surprise.
Karlsson has unfortunately been forced to withdraw because of an ear problem.
Ross Fisher was a surprising casualty of the cut last week after an impressive runner up finish at the BMW PGA Championship. While he could well end up as one of the favourites his form is very inconsistent of late although he did finish 10th in this event last year.
Soren Kjeldsen has been back in form since returning from an unsuccessful trip to the Masters and the Players Championship. His third place finish at Wentworth is perhaps a better reflection on his chances this week. He did not play well at 2010 last year but is in good enough form to do well this week.
Jeev Milkha Singh looked a winner until late in the event last week in Kent and while he has been a little inconsistent of late any player capable of finishing 4th at Doral earlier in the year has a chance against this field it would seem. He also finished 10th on the 2010 layout last year.
Stephen Dodd missed the cut last year in this event but his form of late has been very good. He gets his chance in front of his home fans this week and could well improve on two top fives in his last two starts.
Miguel Angel Jimenez is much better than his recent form would suggest and he will be keen to put to rest his experience in this event last year when he was forced to withdraw with a knee injury.
The Australasians in the field include the aforementioned Strange, Richard Green, the improving Marcus Fraser, Brett Rumford, Mark Brown, Peter Senior, Matthew Millar, Michael Campbell Michael Curtain and Peter Fowler.