Wales Poised for another Poulter-Heist?
Defending champion Ian Poulter and four of Europe’s victorious 2002 Ryder Cup Team headline a strong line-up for The Celtic Manor Wales Open, which returns to the Wentwood Hills course at The Celtic Manor Resort for a fifth successive season this week.
Ireland’s Paul McGinley, the 2001 Celtic Manor Wales Open champion and the man who holed the winning putt in The Ryder Cup at The De Vere Belfry in 2002, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, Welshman Phillip Price and Lee Westwood of England are all in action along with the 1999 Open Champion, Paul Lawrie, winner of the 2002 Celtic Manor Wales Open, who played in The 1999 Ryder Cup Matches at Brookline.
Twelve months ago Poulter led from start to finish to capture his fourth European Tour title, his victory built upon an opening 65 which equalled the course record until bettered by joint runner-up Jarrod Moseley of Australia, who shot a third round 63. Poulter joins former champions Lawrie and McGinley in seeking to win the title for a second time.
“Obviously I have great memories from last year’s tournament but being Champion means there is the added pressure of trying to retain your title to contend with,” said Poulter. “I will be trying to continue the form I showed here last year and it would be great if I could shoot another 65 or lower along the way.”
The home challenge will be led by the Newport’s Price, who finished joint seventh last year in his bid to become the first Welsh winner at the venue for The 2010 Ryder Cup. Although Price missed out on the Celtic Manor Wales Open title last year, he did claim the biggest title of his career when he won the Smurfit European Open during a glorious three week spell in which he followed his victory with a joint second in The Barclays Scottish Open and joint tenth in the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in consecutive weeks.
“The Celtic Manor Wales Open is one of the biggest events on the Welsh sporting calendar. It is always a pleasure to play the Wentwood Hills course and I’m keen to improve on my seventh place finish last year. I was in real contention going into the final round but shot a 74 to leave myself a little short, so this year’s ambition is to stay consistent over the full four days.”
Bradley Dredge and Ian Woosnam, partners in the World Golf Championships – World Cup for Wales in the past two years, Stephen Dodd, Jamie Donaldson and David Park will all be representing the home nation as will Craig Williams, winner of the 2003 Ryder Cup Wales Challenge on last season’s Challenge Tour. Among the invitations is Stuart Manley, who holed the winning putt for Great Britain and Ireland in the 2003 Walker Cup.
Prize money of £1.5 million will be on offer with the winner collecting £250,000.
Courtesy of www.europeantour.com