ISPS Handa Wales Open preview

The European Tour is at Celtic Manor this week for the ISPS Handa Wales Open

Gregory Bourdy
Gregory Bourdy will defend the ISPS Handa Wales Open title
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The European Tour returns to the UK this week for the ISPS Handa Wales Open presented by the Celtic Manor Resort

The European Tour returns to the UK this week for the ISPS Handa Wales Open presented by the Celtic Manor Resort.

As always, a strong field will contest the event over the 2010 course at Celtic Manor  - a layout that hosted the Ryder Cup four years ago.

Fittingly, four players who are taking part in this year's contest - which takes place next week at Gleneagles - are in the field.

Wildcard picks Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher will be joined by automatic qualifiers Thomas Bjorn and home favourite Jamie Donaldson as they bid to sharpen their games ahead of the Ryder Cup.

The likes of Paul Casey - winner of last week's KLM Open - Ross Fisher and the Molinari brothers are also teeing it up in Wales.

"I can't remember the last time I was as excited as I am now about playing in a regular Tour event," said Westwood.

"From everything I know and have heard, it's going to be the ideal place to play the week before the Ryder Cup.

"Paul's attention to detail will ensure we are all perfectly prepared wherever we are coming from, but I'm thrilled that Wales will be my starting point."

The ISPS Handa Wales Open started life as the Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open in 2000 and has produced a strong list of winners since its inception, including European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Graeme McDowell.

Last year, Gregory Bourdy birdied the final three holes to hold off the challenge of American Peter Uihlein and claim his fourth European Tour title.

The 2010 Course at Celtic Manor is a testing 7,352-yard par-71 layout, with a number of long par 4s and two par 5s in excess of 600 yards.

Venue: The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales Date: September 18-21 Course stats: par 71, 7,352 yards Purse: £2,225,000 Winning share: €300,000

TV Coverage:

September 18 - Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am September 19 - Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am September 20 - Sky Sports 4 from 1.30pm September 21 - Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm

Player Watch:

Lee Westwood: He'll be thrilled to have secured a Ryder Cup wildcard pick and that should translate to a good showing at a course he knows well.

Andy Sullivan: Won a trip to space with a hole-in-one last week at the KLM Open en route to a 3rd place finish and came 11th two weeks previously in Italy.

Romain Wattel: Held the 54 hole lead in Holland and finished inside the top 10 at the Omega European Masters.

Key hole: 15th. This is a brilliant risk and reward par-4 that measures 377 yards on the card but is driveable if the players opt to take the line straight from tee to green. The strategic way to play the hole is to lay up to the corner of the dog-leg and pitch on but, by carrying the ball all the way to the putting surface in one, eagle chances can be the result.

Nick Bonfield
Nick Bonfield

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel with The Masters and USPGA respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x