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BlogISPS Handa Wales Open Preview and Picks

ISPS Handa Wales Open

August 29 – September 1, 2013

The Celtic Manor Resort

Newport, Wales, England

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,352

Purse: $2.5 Million

with $391,710 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Thongchai Jaidee

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 13 of the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player in the field being #43, Francesco Molinari and #44 Thorbjorn Olesen.  Here are the other top-100 players in the field: #51 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, #53 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #57 Bernd Wiesberger, #59 Thongchai Jaidee, #61 Chris Wood, #64 Stephen Gallacher, #65 Thomas Bjorn, #69 Mikko Ilonen, #83 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #85 Brett Rumford and #89 Joost Luiten.

The field includes 24 of the Top 50 on this year’s Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #9 Brett Rumford, #13 Mikko Ilonen, #14 Stephen Gallacher, #17 Thorbjom Olesen, #18 Thongchai Jaidee, #19 Marc Warren, #20 Chris Wood, #21 Thomas Bjorn, #22 Scott Jamieson, #23 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #24 Francesco Molinari, #25 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #29 Joost Luiten, #30 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, #33 Bernd Wiesberger, #34 Tommy Fleetwood, #35 Simon Khan, #39 Felipe Aguilar, #40 Pablo Larrazabal, #41 Raphael Jacquelin, #44 Darren Fichardt, #45 Rafa Cabrera-Bello, #48 Richard Santos and #50 Peter Uihlein.

The field includes 5 past champions: Thongchai Jaidee (2012), Scott Strange (2008), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2005), Simon Khan (2004), and Paul Tinning (2000).

The field includes eleven players that have won on the PGA Tour this year: Scott Jamieson (Nelson Mandela), Chris Wood (Qatar Masters), Stephen Gallacher (Dubai Desert Classic), Darren Fichardt (Africa Open), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Malaysian Open), Raphael Jacquelin (Open de Espana), Brett Rumford (Ballantine’s & Volvo China Open), Mikko Ilonen (Nordea Masters), Joost Luiten (Lyoness Open), Simon Thornton (Najeti Hotels Golf Open) and Tommy Fleeetwood (Johnnie Walker Gleneagles).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Handa Wales Open field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at Handa Wales Open in the last five years.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the ISPS Handa Wales Open

Player Johnnie Walker Gleneagles PGA Championship Russian Open WGC-Bridgestone Najeti HotelsOpen British Open Scottish Open French Open BMW International Irish Open U.S. Open Lyoness Open Nordea Masters
Miguel A. Jimenez
(192.67 pts)
DNP
 
T29
(42)
DNP
 
T4
(80)
DNP
 
T13
(49.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
58
(0)
T26
(8)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T8
(16.67)
Stephen Gallacher
(189 pts)
T2
(100)
T61
(0)
DNP
 
T44
(6)
DNP
 
T21
(38.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T8
(16.67)
DNP
 
T47
(1)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T3
(30)
Tommy Fleetwood
(144.33 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP
 
T65
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
T26
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(130.67 pts)
T35
(15)
T29
(42)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T21
(38.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T29
(7)
T26
(8)
T5
(23.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Francesco Molinari
(120.67 pts)
T42
(8)
T33
(34)
DNP
 
T44
(6)
DNP
 
T9
(60)
T42
(2.67)
T18
(10.67)
DNP
 
T32
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Scott Henry
(108.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP
 
T44
(4)
DNP
 
T15
(11.67)
DNP
 
T57
(0)
T29
(7)
CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Bernd Wiesberger
(105.33 pts)
T4
(80)
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T64
(0)
T31
(6.33)
T13
(12.33)
T4
(26.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Ricardo Gonzalez
(104.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Gregory Havret
(93.33 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP
 
T5
(46.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T3
(30)
Danny Willett
(87.33 pts)
T63
(0)
T40
(20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T15
(46.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T18
(10.67)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Matthew Nixon
(85 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP
 
T2
(66.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T38
(4)
T22
(9.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Simon Dyson
(82.67 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP
 
9
(30)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T12
(12.67)
5
(23.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T36
(4.67)
Marc Warren
(79.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(76)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
T38
(4)
T13
(12.33)
T77
(0)
T18
(10.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
John Parry
(75 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T5
(23.33)
T52
(0)
T10
(13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T28
(14.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Eduardo De La Riva
(73.67 pts)
T49
(1)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T15
(46.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
T32
(6)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Mikko Korhonen
(67 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
T49
(0.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T68
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Ross Fisher
(67 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T24
(8.67)
T34
(5.33)
T18
(10.67)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Mark Foster
(66 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP
 
T5
(46.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T18
(10.67)
Paul Waring
(65 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T10
(13.33)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Alexandre Kaleka
(63.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T2
(66.67)
DNP
 
T22
(9.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(1.33)
T42
(2.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Morten Orum Madsen
(56.67 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T24
(8.67)
T38
(4)
T58
(0)
DNP
 
T28
(14.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Matthew Baldwin
(56.33 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T18
(10.67)
T65
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Thongchai Jaidee
(56 pts)
T17
(33)
T47
(6)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T32
(24)
66
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T41
(3)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Alexander Levy
(54.67 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
James Morrison
(54.67 pts)
57
(0)
DNP
 
T5
(46.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T49
(0.33)
T52
(0)
T35
(5)
T42
(2.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the ISPS Handa Wales Open

Player Johnnie Walker Gleneagles PGA Championship Russian Open WGC-Bridgestone Najeti HotelsOpen British Open Scottish Open French Open BMW International Irish Open U.S. Open Lyoness Open Nordea Masters
Estanislao Goya
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
T74
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Niclas Fasth
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
T57
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Bjorn Akesson
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Moritz Lampert
(-28.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
WD
(-1.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Robert Coles
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Phillip Price
(-24.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T34
(5.33)
DNP
 
Scott Arnold
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Carlos Del Moral
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T61
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Christian Cevaer
(-21 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T43
(2.33)
Lasse Jensen
(-20 pts)
T66
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The buzz for this week, last week and next week and the week after is the lack of buzz.  With the FedEx Cup playoffs going on all of the marquee players are over playing in that instead of the European Tour.  So that is the big problem that the European Tour has, when the PGA Tour is better for a week, it sucks all of the marquee players out of the picture for a European Tour event.

It’s not a kiss of death, if you look 12 of the top-100 in the rankings and 23 of the top-50 in the Race to Dubai are in the field, but when your missing the stars like Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose to mention a few, you can see that a sponsor could be a little weary about spending millions of dollars to get so little buzz.

So this brings up an important question, what does the European Tour do?  This is the peak time for many of the courses, you wouldn’t want to be in Wales in two months because of the weather.  Remember how much it rained during the Ryder Cup in 2010, yes this is the same place so we can see how ugly it could get.  Back to the European tour’s problem, do you close up shop and not play anything from the Scottish Open till the week after the Tour Championship?  You can’t.

If you look and disregard the lack of marquee names the field in Wales this is a good field with almost half the top-50 players off the money list.  Many will point out that just four years ago every Ryder Cup player was in the event, yes that is true and in looking at the field for this year’s event Francesco Molinari is the only player that was on the team that played at Celtic Manor in 2010.  Of the players in the field you only have a scattering of past Ryder Cup players, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Ross Fisher, Ignacio Garrido, Soren Hansen, David Howell, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul McGinley and Francesco Molinari.  Hey ten is a pretty good number so the field is not all that bad.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the ISPS Handa Wales Open:

Key stat for the winner:

If you look at the last four winners, they have something in common, hitting lots of greens.  2010 winner Graeme McDowell led the field while 2011 champion Alex Noren was T2nd.  Last year Thongchai Jaidee was T7th, hitting 53 of the 72 greens so look for good ball strikers to rule.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Length is obviously not an issue so that opens things up quite a bit. Look for the winner to be someone who doesn’t like to muscle up with the driver, and just settle for using a long iron for control. Look at some of the past winners of the event they don’t over power the course so looking for accuracy over length.
  • Water hazards come into play on 10 holes, and wind is often a factor on this relatively flat course that sits in a Valley.
  • The weather looks like it’s going to be perfect for all four days with the exception of a slight chance of rain on Saturday so that brings a lot of players into focus.
  • Just because a player won this event in the past doesn’t mean instant success this year.  Of the past champions done of them have had much success in years after so just because someone played well the previous year doesn’t mean he will play well this year.  I would look at our who’s hot list of players from the European Tour to find a winner.

 

 

Who to watch for at the ISPS Handa Wales Open

Best Bets:

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2 T12 9 T43 WD

Not only does he have the best scoring average of anyone in the field (69.25) he has had a great last couple of weeks at home in Valderrama, Spain practicing and spending key time with his family. He will be fresh and ready to go.

Miguel A. Jimenez

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T57 CUT 8 T17 WD CUT Win

Has played well this summer, look for him to shine this week on a course he knows well.

Bernd Wiesberger

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
CUT CUT T26

Has struggled at Celtic Manor but his year has been memorable and he is playing well now.

Best of the rest:

Ross Fisher

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T6 CUT CUT T31 T10 CUT CUT T54

Found out how to play Celtic Manor last year, look for him to be in contention and have a good week.

Thorbjorn Olesen

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T18 T50

Another of those players that can strike at any time, was in the top-ten last week in Scotland.

Joel Sjoholm

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T8 T8

A pair of top-tens the last two years, after a poor summer his game is starting to get back in the right form.

Stephen Gallacher

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T42 CUT T4 CUT T58 T20 T34 T60 T34 T21 CUT T49

Came close last week at Gleneagles and did finish T4th in 2010, I can see a another good week coming from him.

Francesco Molinari

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T46 T56 CUT T4 CUT WD

Another guy that has finished T4th at Celtic Manor, his summer has been a bit frustrating with the exception of a trio of top-tens at the Volvo Match Play, BMW PGA Championship and British Open.

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

Joost Luiten

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2

Was runner-up last year, looking to regain that great form that got him a victory at the Lyoness Open.

Mikko Ilonen

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
CUT T56 CUT CUT T15 T6 WD T34 CUT 3

Has played great in 2013, look for him to do well after a break from playing Scottish Open, British Open, Bridgestone and PGA Championship.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T41 CUT CUT T70 T25

May not have had much success at Celtic Manor but his game has been consistent along with a T5th at the Irish Open, a course similar to Celtic Manor.

Pablo Larrazabal

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T28 T4 T56 T26 T15

Has had a terrible summer, missed six cuts in his last seven starts but his only pay day came when he finished 4th at the Irish Open. So that gives me a ray of hope that this course will be good for him.

Long shots that could come through:

Chris Wood

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T14 T46 T10

Has finished in the top-ten at Celtic Manor, his game has shown spurts of glory this year will be looking for that this week.

Peter Uihlein

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Looking to get back into his winning pattern that he showed on the European Tour between the start of the year and the Scottish Open.

Peter Lawrie

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T8 T20 T24 CUT T25 T28 T44 T41 T18

Looking to get things back in form, hasn’t had a top-ten since the Irish Open.

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