Starts - 13th August 2020
Course - Celtic Manor GC
Par - 71 (36-35)
Length – 7,354 yards
Defending Champion - N/A
Overall Profit/Loss: -6pts
Pre-Event Six to Watch
T57th Ryan Fox - 25/1
T63rd Nicolas Colsaerts - 50/1
T14th Adrian Otaegui- 66/1
T31st Steven Brown - 110/1
T39th Oliver Farr - 225/1
T10th Sebastian Soderberg- 250/1
In-Play Bets: -6pts
14 August 2020 (-3 Points)
1.5pts Each Way (1/5 1,2,3,4,5) Guido Migliozzi - 33/1 @ 888Sport
16 August 2020 (-3 Points)
3pts Sebastian Soderberg - 12/1 @ William Hill
The Celtic Manor Resort has three 18 hole courses but it is the 2010 course that hosts this week. Built for the Ryder Cup in 2010, the course is an amalgamation of nine existing holes with a further nine designed by Ross McMurray.
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.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
Continue to exercise an abundance of caution (credit: Chase Koepka and the PGA Tour) in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
We saw John Catlin being removed from the English Championship last week for breaching Tour protocols.
Whilst the 2010 course has not hosted a European Tour event since 2014, it was a regular European Tour stop between 2008 - 2014. In the last five runnings of the Welsh Open we saw winning scores range from -6 to -15 so it can play very differently depending on wind and weather conditions.
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.
No winner of the Welsh Open between 2010-2014 shot four rounds under par. Don't despair if your pick has one slow day.
Players from the UK & Ireland generally have a poor record at Celtic Manor. Over the seven Welsh Opens held at the 2010 course, we have only seen one UK & Ireland winner (Graeme McDowell in 2010) and two years where players from these countries have claimed runner up spots (2014 and 2010).
As Steve Rawlings points out in his excellent Betfair preview, 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.
At first glance the winners of the last seven Welsh Opens (2008 - 2014) have all been shorter, more accurate golfers.
Joost Luiten ranked 7th for Greens in Regulation when the the course was last used in 2014 and given he is a course specialist (three top 4 finishes between 2012-2014), we should look out for players who are in his mould.
Water is in play on over half the holes here so those players who are wild off the tee or inaccurate with approach shots can be punished severely here.
The 2010 course is very much a front runners track with three of the last four winners having held the lead going into the final round. However, winners can come off the pace with Gregory Bourdy coming from three shots back in 2013 and Graeme McDowell winning from four shots back in 2010.
Interestingly, only one of the past five third round leaders 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.
Six To Watch
As outlined in our Tipping Record, our strategy is to focus on speciality bets and value in-play. However, we have identified the following six players if you do wish to place a bet before the event begins:
Ryan Fox - 25/1 @ William Hill
The Kiwi bomber has been the model of consistency last few weeks finishing 8th, 15th and 19th since returning from lockdown. Although making his debut at Celtic manor, he is our pick of the favourites to go well this week. He has a strong liking for golf on UK and Irish soil with finishes of 4th and 6th at the Scottish Open and 2nd and 4th at the Irish Open in the last 3 years. He also won a Challenge Tour event in Northern Ireland in 2016 and boasts a 6th and 18th place finish at Le Golf National, a course that correlates nicely.
Nicolas Colsaerts - 50/1 @ Bet365
The Belgian returned to form last week with a 9th place finish at the English Championship. He has shown a liking for Celtic manor in the past finishing 12th and 4th in his last two starts there. The 2019 Open De France champion has a nice early tee time and could be a lively runner this week.
Adrian Otaegui- 66/1 @ Bet365
The Spaniard's odds have understandably been slashed for this week after a 2nd place finish at the English Championship last week. Adrian's last win on the European Tour at The Belgian Knockout in 2018 followed a 2nd place finish at the Volvo China Open so he has shown he can follow up a near miss. Finishes of 12th and 7th at Le Golf National are also a positive. He has played Celtic manor once, finishing 50th back in 2014 but he is a much improved player since then.
Steven Brown - 110/1 @ Bet365
Steven produced his best performance of the year last week at the English Championship, finishing 5th after three rounds of 66 or less. Last year, Steven produced his best finish of the year at the Open De France with an 11th place finish, and went on to win the next week at the Portugal Masters, so he has shown he can back up good performances in the past. Steven won't mind a bit of wind either if it blows in Wales this week, like it usually does.
Oliver Farr - 225/1 @ Bet365
The Welshman will be relishing the tour coming to Wales this week and although he has no competitive starts at Celtic Manor, it is a fair assumption that he has had a few rounds there in the past. He was very impressive two weeks ago to finish 3rd at the Hero Open, and only narrowly missed the cut last week by one shot, including a 66 on Friday. He should be chomping at the bit to get underway this week.
Sebastian Soderberg- 250/1 @ 888 Sport
We are surprised to see world number 189 Sebastian Soderberg go off at 250/1 in a field like this. It was only two weeks ago the European Masters champion was in the elite WGC field competing with the worlds best so he may appreciate the downgrade in competition this week. Yes he finished 2nd last out of the 78 man field that week, but he only finished one shot behind Hao Tong Li who showed it's possible to bounce back at the PGA Championship last week. To summarise we are selecting Seb purely on value here, similar to the reason we selected Morikawa last week.
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