Starts: 22nd July 2021
Course: Celtic Manor Resort, Wales
Length: 7,315 yards
2020 Champion: N/A
Overall Profit/Loss: +33.03pts
Pre-Event Bets: +8.13pts
0.75pts EW Jacques Kruyswijk 66/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-6)
0.75pts EW Jack Senior 66/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-7)
0.5pts EW Sebastian Heisele 80/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts EW Callum Shinkwin 125/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.25pts EW Hao Tong Li 200/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.25pts EW Alvaro Quiros 250/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-7)
2pts Tapio Pulkkanen Top 20 finish - 15/2 @ Betfair
In-Play Bets: +24.9pts
22 July 2021 (+24.9pts)
1pt EW Nach Elvira 22/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
0.75pts EW Richard Mansell 66/1 @ Bet Victor (1/4 1-4)
Designer: Trent Jones Jr and Ross McMurray
Type of Course: Parkland
Used Since: 2008.
Rough: Thick in places
Water Hazard: In-play on most holes
Par 5's: 2nd, 9th, 11th and 18th.
Premium on: Par 3 performance
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
The weather last year was bad at the Wales Open but nice at the Celtic Classic. With conditions set to be fair this week, don't be put off if anyone struggled in the wind and rain last year at the Celtic Classic.
The field is weaker this week following the Open Championship.
It is a par 71 with four par 5s and five 3s. With all par 3s all capable of playing 185+ yards, and several of the par 5s generally unreachable in two, solid iron play is essential. The 15th hole is a driveable par 4 for those who want to take on the risk.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
Looks set to be dry and hot Thursday Friday which should make for firm conditions. Thunderstorms due to arrive on Saturday with the temperature dropping to low 20's over the weekend.
Sunny Intervals and a gentle breeze. Wind 8mph
Sunny Intervals and moderate breeze. Wind 10-14mph
Thunderstorms and a gentle breeze. Wind 8-10mph
Light rain and a gentle breeze. Wind 5-10mph
In the previous five runnings we saw winning scores range from -6 to -15, and a -18 win at the Celtic Classic and -8 win the Wales Open, so it can play very differently depending on wind and weather. Expect the winning score around -15 this year.
All of the last six winners were ranked inside the top 200 and five of them were already winners on the European Tour. The only one not to have won yet was Romain Langasque who was knocking on the door already.
The 2010 course correlates well with Le Golf National, home of the French Open. Players who have performed well in Paris have a good record here in Wales.
Horsfield and Langasque were debutants, Luiten and Bourdy both had previous top 10's and the other three most recent winners had made cuts previously.
All of the last seven winners here have had a previous top 25 in their last three starts. Only two had a top 20 in their last start.
Horsfield bucked a trend when winning here as players from the UK & Ireland generally have a poor record at Celtic Manor. Over the seven Welsh Opens held at the 2010 course, we only saw one UK & Ireland winner (Graeme McDowell in 2010) and two years where players from these countries have claimed runner up spots (2014 and 2010).
We will analyse the stats of the most recent winners. Note - strokes gained stats only exist for the two events played here in 2020.
SG: Off The Tee
4-22. A solid driver is preferred.
9-66-12-38. Distance helps around here but isn't essential as Horsfield showed.
41-54-12-38. Driving Accuracy isn't percieved as essential this week.
18-3. Strong iron play is important.
Greens in Regulation
13-12-6-26. Confirms the importance of strong iron play.
SG: Around The Green
69-28. Not essential.
8-13. Strong putters thrive here.
The 1st, 5th, 6th and 16th played touhghest last year.
The par 5s 9th and 11th are most scoreable. The 15th hole played 4th easiest last year.
Fast or Slow Start
There's little to be gained from analysing the early round performance of past winners here. Winners have started with rounds as low as 65, but equally Graeme McDowell won in 2010 despite shooting an opening 72. Sam Horsfield won last week shooting an opening 67, sitting three shots behind Thomas Pieters. Langasque was five shots behind after day one.
Interestingly, only one of the past seven third round leaders (covering the Celtic Classic and previous Wales Opens) have bettered par in the final round. It is not a course for players who struggle to get the job done and if we have a weak third round leader we should definitely seek to take them on.
The 16th is a long par 4, 17th is tough par 3 and par 5 18th played tougher than usual last year.
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Cazoo Open In-Play Blog
24th July 2021, 9.35pm
The expected bad weather didn't materialise and Nacho Elvira has opened up a six shot lead at the Cazoo Open. Elvira was our 22/1 in-play selection after the opening round and we are obviously hoping he can finish the job.
A three putt at the opening hole suggested Elvira may be feeling some nerves but he answered any doubters emphatically with six birdies and no further blemishes. He's now a best price of 4/9 to convert and he'll likely never have a better opportunity to win his first European Tour title. His long game has been superb and it would be a shock if he weren't to convert from here.
A round of par or better from Elvira will certainly force the others to go low. Of the five players chasing Elvira, only two have posted a round of 65 or better so far this week. Elvira passed up a 2 shot lead through 54 holes at the Maybank Championship in 2019 so the chasing pack will at least have a glimmer of hope.
Elvira will play with Callum Shinkwin tomorrow and he was a player we identified before the start of the tournament at 125/1. A 63 on moving day certainly shot him up the leaderboard but he's likely to need something similar in order to contend tomorrow. Shinkwin shot a final round 63 to win the Cyprus Open at the end of last year so he shouldn't be written off.
The bookmakers make Justin Harding 2nd favourite at 8/1, Mikko Korhonen is 12/1 and Sam Horsfield is 14/1. Like Shinkwin, all three players are capable of low scores and each are proven European Tour winners. We'd expect one or more of those four to make it difficult for Elvira.
The weather for the final round is forecast to be dry with wind peaking at 7mph.
With our positions on Elvira, Shinkwin and also Jacques Kruyswijk (selected pre-event at 66/1), we are content to sit on our hands and let the final round play out.
Round 4 Bet
- No bet
23rd July 2021, 11.35pm
Firm and fast conditions combined with the wind kicking up meant that Celtic Manor caused players a number of problems. However, that didn't stop yesterday's 22/1 tip, Nacho Elvira, shooting a 67 and opening up a two shot lead.
Elvira is yet to win on the European Tour but four Challenge Tour wins show he can win if the opportunity presents itself. He's striking the ball brilliantly so far, ranking 3rd SG: Off The Tee and 5th SG: Approach. The bookmakers have priced him up at 7/2 and those of you who backed the Spaniard yesterday are now in a good position.
Elvira spoke of how calm he was in his post round interview and he'll need to remain calm over the weekend if he is to secure his first European Tour win. It could be a fantastic weekend for Nacho as his younger brother, Manuel, is also right in contention on the Challenge Tour.
The biggest threat to the older Elvira could well come from the Welsh weather. Heavy rain and 16mph winds are forecast for tomorrow and it's likely we'll see the leaderboard change significantly.
The bookmakers make Matt Wallace 10/3 favourite at the moment. Given the forecast, we aren't keen to back anyone in single figures. We are happy to let the 3rd round play out and take another look before the 4th round,
Round 3 Bet
- No bet.
22nd July 2021, 9.35pm
Nacho Elvira shares the lead with up and coming Swede Vincent Norrman at seven under, and they are two clear of Mikho Korhonen and James Morrison.
There appears to be a slight draw bias with three of those players playing in the afternoon today and they look set to get softer, calmer conditions tomorrow morning before the wind picks up to 14mph in the afternoon.
Norrman has been popping up on leaderboards for a few weeks now, finishing 5th in Germany and 12th in Sweden recently. He is a serious talent but with a later draw and odds of 8/1, he’s not for us.
Elvira is more than double his price as he hasn’t had a top 10 since 2019 but should be respected nonetheless.
The bookmakers still fancy tournament favourites Matt Wallace and Sam Horsfield, who sit on 4 under. With early tee times, it is entirely possible they make a big move. There is not enough juice in the price at 6/1 and 7/1 to tempt us though.
Our pre-event plays Callum Shinkwin and Jacques Kruyswijk have stared well on three under, but we’re going to add a couple of morning starters given the slight advantageous conditions.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Nacho Elvira 22/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
We touched on Elvira briefly above and we think there is enough value to get onboard despite his form. He has always been fairly volatile form-wise but when he’s on he can compete. Twice a runner-up on tour, as recently as 2019, shows his ability, as do three Challenge Tour wins in 2015. He made both cuts at Celtic Manor last year despite arriving in poor form and he’s worth chancing to go better this week after a strong start.
- 0.75pts Each Way Richard Mansell 66/1 @ Bet Victor (1/5 1-5)
Richard is three under after recovering from three bogeys in his first five holes. He continues to perform highly on strokes gained stats most weeks and is capable of competing in this field. He has already recorded a 2nd on tour in Austria and has an excellent tee time in the group first off with the least wind. Bet Victor are offering a stand out price so act fast and snap it up.