This week the European Tour is employing a post-Covid-19 tactic already used by the PGA Tour with back to back weeks at the same course for The Celtic Classic and The ISPS Handa Wales Open. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the only Ryder Cup staged in Wales at the Twenty Ten Course that is used this week. After several easy tracks in recent weeks, the course is likely the most challenging the European Tour professionals since the resumption setting a lengthy test with several risk-reward holes surrounded on many occasions by water hazards in this lake-lined layout.
August 13 – 16
The Celtic Manor Resort, Twenty Ten Course
Par 71, 7493 yards
This week will be the European Tour’s toughest since the resumption. What type of players should we support?
No doubt this week will be a test of patience and the golfers who can grind it may well be the ones to come out on top. When looking back at the old form between 2010 and 2014 it was apparent that the same players featured at the higher echelons of the leaderboard each year. That leads me to believe course experience is a big advantage at the 2010 course twinned with a patient approach.
European Tour Betting Picks and Predictions
One player who will be delighted to see Celtic Manor back on the European Tour roster will be Joost Luiten from the Netherlands. Plausibly he could have won both post-Covid-19 tournaments on the resumption in Austria, each time collapsing spectacularly, particularly, during the middle of round 3 at the Euram Bank Open where a ten on a par 5 was a shock to the system. Despite those reverses, Luiten is a high-level operator as he proved at the PGA Championship in San Francisco last week where he performed creditably on a severe test of skill. Now back at the venue where he was the last winner in 2014 of the Wales Open and the years prior, he had been runner up and 4th respectively. There can be no doubt if he is not fatigued from the trans-Atlantic journey back he represents a perfect form pick this week in the place and match bet markets.
Having been in poor form prior to the Covid-19 hiatus Andrea Pavan was probably glad to regroup. We know he is a player capable of winning and big performances on the European Tour with two tournament victories to illustrate that fact, at the BMW International Open 2019 and the 2018 D+D Czech Masters. Since the resumption, he played with promise at the British Masters and at last week’s English Championship. He played with promise here in 2014 with a top 10 finish on the European Tour and those positive memories can only bring him good vibes this week.
Nicolas Colsaerts is having a career resurgence in recent months and last week’s top 10 finish at the English Championship was his first decent form since the European Tour resumption. Colsaerts had started 2020 brightly after finishing 2019 in style by winning the Open De France in the fall at Le Golf National, Paris. The tall Belgian is a stalwart of the European Tour and his last victory prior was 2012 in the Volvo World Matchplay, but he is a proven winner with previous Celtic Manor form as 4th in 2014 and 12th in 2010 (only played course on those occasions) illustrates. He looks a solid form golf pick this week.
European Tour Picks and Predictions
- Nicolas Colsaerts – Win at +5000 with BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review)
- Nicolas Colsaerts – Top 10 at +500
European Tour Match Bet
- Andrea Pavan to beat Laurie Canter at +105 with BetOnline
European Tour Longshot
Antoine Rozner was in supreme form from tee to green last week where he ranked highly in several on the European Tour statistics for total driving, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, and ball striking with even his scrambling stats looking solid. This week’s course will set a sterner test for the professionals’ tee to green than Hanbury Manor so with a slight improvement in his putting the young Frenchman could find himself in contention this week.
A player I’m interested in for the place and match markets is Joel Sjöholm who in years past was a regular on the European Tour, in fact, he completed back to back top 10 finishes here in 2011 and 2012. By 2014 though his career was in a dreadful slump having lost his playing privileges on the European Tour meaning he was forced to grind a living on the Challenge Tour. 2017 saw an upturn in fortune for the Swede when he won the Italian Challenge followed by in 2018 and 2019 a consolidation of this new-found confidence. Then just before Christmas, he got a start on the European Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Championship that he made the most of with a runner up finish and a slightly unlucky one with Pablo Larazabal nicking victory with an inspired run on the closing holes.
The 165,000 Euros though has been helpful in getting him more starts on the European Tour than in recent years so he will be looking forward to returning to one of his favorite courses and countries because not only has he been successful at Celtic Manor but has lots of his best career form in Wales. The Swalec Wales Challenge is staged at nearby Cardiff (15 miles away) where he had previously placed 2nd and 3rd in 2008 and 2010 respectively. When we consider how few tournaments are played in Wales, the success he has had, there can be little doubt that Sjòholm will have plenty of positive endorphins in place when he starts the journey from Southern England that will bring back all those fond memories.
European Tour Longshot
- Antoine Rozner – Win at +6600 with BetOnline
- Antoine Rozner – Top 10 at +650
- Antoine Rozner to beat Pablo Larrazabal at -105
- Joel Sjoholm – Top 20 on request
European Tour Banker
An obvious pick this week in Wales will be former Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson and I concur in liking his chances also. Donaldson is a home hero this week having been born in Pontypridd which is within an hour of Newport and although he didn’t play the Ryder Cup here in 2010, he did hole the winning putt for Europe in 2014. He has been ticking away nicely on the European Tour resumption having kept himself busy in the preceding months on the minor tours in Britain. Last week was a promising one for Donaldson and with his confidence slowly growing he has a solid look at a venue he played well at back in 2014 when he was 4th and 2011 when he was 8th.
American based Korean Sihwan Kim has been grinding a living for several seasons on the European Tour and like Andrea Pavan back in 2014 here he produced a solid tournament at the time when he was struggling on the European Tour. He is now a more accomplished professional and arrives in Wales in solid form since the resumption of activities with last week being an eye-catching effort at the English Championship. As most of our selections this week those positive memories can only help as the tour returns to Wales for the first time in six years making him our Banker play.
European Tour Banker
- Sihwan Kim – Top 20 on request
European Tour Match Bet
- Jamie Donaldson to beat Aaron Rai at +125 with BetOnline