Goosen heads Celtic Manor lineup
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2007 The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open | Preview | 30 May 2007
The European Tour moves west to Wales for this week’s Celtic Manor Wales Open with Retief Goosen perhaps a surprise participant given that most of the other players from the world top ten are in Dublin, Ohio for this week’s Memorial Tournament.
Goosen played the Memorial prior to his win in the 2004 US Open at Shinnecock but in the week leading into his win at Southern Hills in 2001 he played the English Open so he clearly feels comfortable playing this event rather than in Ohio as he looks to resurrect a game which has not been at its best since his runner up placing at Augusta.
The Celtic Manor Resort’s Roman Road course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr, whose son designed the adjacent Wentwood Hills course, which is currently being upgraded in preparation for the Ryder Cup in 2010. That course will be used for the first time for this event in 2008.
The Roman Road course measures just 6750 yards, has a par of 69 and the greens are sown in Providence Creeping Bent and IGER-bred ryegrass varieties on the fairways and tees.
The defending champion Robert Karlsson all but secured his 2006 Ryder Cup berth in this event last year when he won by three over Paul Broadhurst after dominating the tournament from his opening round of 61. Karlsson has been campaigning in America for most of this year and although he has had only limited success, his game has been good enough for him to contend once again this week. He finished 6th at the recent Players Championship against a field many times stronger than that he will face this week.
Bradley Dredge will have the expectation of Welsh golf on him as he looks to become the first Welsh golfer to win the event since it moved here in 2000 and his recent form suggests such a task is not beyond him. He did miss the cut last week at Wentworth but prior to that his form had been solid and his 7th place in the event last year, including a last round of 64, indicates his familiarity with Celtic Manor.
South African Richard Sterne continues to improve as his recent run of great finishes in South Africa, Asia and again last week at Wentworth suggest. He has played this event well enough in the past for that momentum to continue this week.
Paul Broadhurst finished runner up last year after chasing Karlsson throughout the week. He seems to enjoy this course and last week at Wentworth played well before a last round of 80 saw him eventually finish 20th. If he has recovered from the damaging effects of that horror round he could again do well.
Colin Momtgomerie is certainly one of the more credentialed players in the field but his form at present seems to be all over the place so his chances are hard to judge.
The Australasians in the field are headed by Michael Campbell but he is in one of his horror spells at present and therefore he does not appear to be a genuine chance. He has shown in the past that he can quickly turn things around but it will be a significant surprise if he was to contend.
Peter O’Malley, Marcus Fraser, Brett Rumford, Matthew Millar, Wade Ormsby, Peter Senior, Andrew Tampion, Matthew Zions, Steve Alker and Terry Price are others from downunder who get a start this week.