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Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 15:50 UK

Wales hopes to end golf hoodoo

CELTIC MANOR RESORT WALES OPEN
Venue: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport Date: 3 June - 6 June Starts: 0700 BST
Coverage: Score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and online. Saturday highlights at 2345 BST on BBC TWO Wales and Sunday highlights at 2230 BST on BBC TWO Wales. Live on Sky Sports 3

Welsh golfer Rhys Davies
Rhys Davies has been Wales' form golfer this term

By James Pontin
BBC Sport Wales

To reach the 2010 course you have to drive down a road which resembles the Whistler ski jump from this year's Winter Olympics.

The descent has in many ways resembled Welsh golf fans' hopes of seeing the first home-grown winner at the Wales Open…they are there at the start - but then go downhill quickly.

But this year's Wales Open could be the turning point with a number of the Welsh lads arriving in Newport in fine form.

None more so than Rhys Davies. A second place finish in the Madrid Masters on Sunday topped a week in which he qualified for the US Open in Pebble Beach and gained entry to The Open at St Andrews.

The 25-year-old has been Wales' form golfer this term. He marked his debut season on the European Tour with victory in the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco; came second in both Madrid and the Volvo China Open; third in Maybank Malaysian Open and sixth in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Phil Price celebrates his winner against Phil Mickelson in 2002
Phil Price celebrates his 2002 Ryder Cup winner against Phil Mickelson

So far this season he has earned €763,465 Euros and lies ninth on the European Tour Race to Dubai rankings - little wonder people are touting him for a place in Colin Montgomery's Ryder Cup team this October.

But Rhys is not alone. Jamie Donaldson arrives in the sort of form which might suggest he will challenge too.

Five top-10 finishes - his best being tied for fourth at the Volvo China Open - sees Donaldson ranked 36th on the European tour and he'll fancy his chances in a field which will be missing many of the leading players.

Stephen Dodd - a World Cup winner for Wales - has had three top 10 finishes, while Bradley Dredge, second at the Celtic Manor in 2007, once again teased us with a glimpse of the type of golf he is capable of at the Qatar Masters at the start of the season.

In a Ryder Cup year, it would be rude not to mention the man many hope will be one of Montgomerie's vice-captains.

Local boy and 2010 member Phillip Price had seemed to have fallen off the radar until his recent third round of 65 at the Italian Open reminded us of the player who so famously beat Phil Mickelson in the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry.

Adding to the list of Welsh representation will be: Sion Bebb, Craig Smith, Stuart Manley, Kyron Sullivan, Garry Houston, Liam Bond and Jason Powell.

Who knows if one of these 12 Welshmen will seal victory on home soil? Let us just hope that there will not be an exodus in need of the ski lift before the weekend.



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see also
Montgomerie could turn to Price
03 Jun 10 |  Golf
Wales warned of Ryder Cup one-off
01 Jun 10 |  Golf
Monty dealt Wales Ryder Cup blow
28 May 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie plans Garcia pep talk
27 May 10 |  Golf
Monty calls for Scots' Ryder push
27 May 10 |  Golf
Ryder hopefuls boost Wales field
26 May 10 |  Golf
Harrington will miss Wales Open
18 May 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup hopefuls' tough course
19 Apr 10 |  Golf
Monty wants Ryder Cup rehearsal
04 Jun 09 |  Golf
Monty backs Europe for Ryder Cup
03 Jan 10 |  Golf
Karlsson keeps composure to win
04 Jun 06 |  Golf
Jimenez powers to Welsh triumph
05 Jun 05 |  Golf
Twenty Ten course in photos
03 Jun 09 |  Golf
Wales Open - former winners
01 Jun 06 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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