Golf: ISPS Handa Wales Open
Venue: Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales.
Dates: 20th – 23rd August 2020
Former Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor will play host to the ISPS Handa Wales Open on the latest leg of the UK swing on the revamped European Tour. The inaugural event takes place on the Twenty 10 course in South Wales, the iconic venue of a European Ryder Cup win for Colin Montgomerie’s men. Three consecutive European Tour events have been won by Brits, with Sam Horsfield winning twice and Andy Sullivan also picking up a tournament win and the European contingent will be looking to buck that trend this week. Whilst many big events have been played at Celtic Manor, this is the inaugural hosting of the ISPS Handa Wales Open and there is a stellar field assembled here in South Wales. And with over £1 million in the prize pot – there are plenty of Order of Merit points and prize money to play for.
The European Tour continues to find its feet once more following the pandemic and it promises to be another excellent week at Celtic Manor: –
Former Ryder Cup player Thomas Pieters looked back to his best in finishing 3rd at the Celtic Classic last week and he could be the man to watch here in Newport.
Two tournament wins in three weeks have allowed Sam Horsfield to make a real assault on the European Tour Order of Merit this season and he can’t be discounted again this week.
Chinese superstar Haotong Li has been plying his trade on the PGA Tour for most of the season but has looked in decent nick and could go well here in South Wales.
Having made back to back top 25 finishes, Robert Rock looks set to be in contention this week in South Wales – at a course he has a good record at.
Young Scot Connor Syme made all the running at the Celtic Classic last week before being pipped on the Sunday but he should take heart from his 3rd placed finish.
1st Round Leader
Producing the goods over 72 holes is often the most difficult thing for any golfer to do therefore here are our first round leader picks:-
Malaysian Gavin Green is taking tentative steps back to action on the European Tour and his ball striking ability will make him a genuine contender from the off at Celtic Manor this week.
With consecutive top 20 finishes on the European Tour under his belt, Jordan Smith looks to be finding form and his streaky game style suggests he could get off to a flyer here in Newport.
New Zealander Ryan Fox is one of the most exciting talents on the European Tour and whilst he hasn’t hit his straps in 2020 – he could be a candidate to go well at Celtic Manor this week.
Top Ten Finish
With so many quality players assembled here in Newport, getting into the winning enclosure could be tough but there are plenty of candidates to finish in the top 10 come Sunday:-
‘Beef’ played incredibly well to finish in the top 5 at the Celtic Classic last week and although the course is different, the surrounds are familiar, and he could go well again this week.
Englishman Eddie Pepperell is a classy performer on his day and although he has struggled for form since the restart, he could well be in contention come Sunday here.
Despite struggling for form since returning to action, Thorbjorn Olesen is one of the best players on the European Tour on his day and he could sneak into the top 10 come Sunday.
BetXChange Best Bets:
Outright Winner: Thomas Pieters – 10.00