Back The Englishmen At Celtic Manor
All eyes will be focused on The Wales Open at Celtic Manor this weekend ahead of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next week…
The Wales Open was inaugurated in 2000 and was usually played in early June, though it was moved to late August in 2013 and has been pushed back in the calendar once again.
No American has ever won this event and that record isn’t going to improve this year,
…but there’s a decent field for the 2014 edition, including four members of the European Ryder Cup team taking their chance to warm up for Gleneagles.
The tournament has been played on the Ryder Cup Twenty-Ten course at Celtic Manor since 2008. It’s a fairly flat, but challenging par-71 layout that combines an exposed links-style feel with numerous water hazards. Accuracy and distance from the tee are both important there, and the ability to scramble well out of the thick Welsh rough can make the different between success and failure.
In The Bunker
Jamie Donaldson has been in sparkling form in recent weeks, winning the Czech Masters to earn his Ryder Cup spot, and following that up with a top ten in Switzerland. He also has a reasonable record at Celtic Manor, bagging three top tens in ten visits.
But in a week’s time he will be playing in the biggest tournament of his life and no matter how professionally he goes about his business in Newport, that is bound to affect his focus. At odds of 14/1 I’ll be looking elsewhere this week.
Donaldson is joined at the top of the antepost market by Paul Casey and the Englishman makes more appeal. He’s only played this event once, back in 2004, but he finished second that year and he couldn’t be returning to Celtic Manor in better form, having won the KLM Open last week, where he finished with a 62 and a 66 to pick up his thirteenth Tour title. Back him at 14/1 to add another.
Young Englishman Eddie Pepperell finished way down the field on his first visit to Celtic Manor, but this year he goes there in a rich vein of form. Since the middle of August he has registered three top five finishes in four outings, including another fourth last week. That first Tour win surely won’t be long coming and he offers plenty of value at 40/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist, at a big price, is Robert Rock. He’s endured a poor season so far, but he showed promising signs at the KLM Open, breaking into the top twenty for the first time since March and ranking in the top five for both Driving Accuracy and Greens In Regulation. He has a fourth and a fifteenth at Celtic Manor in his last three visits and is worth a look at odds of 150/1.