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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 18:25 UK

Rhys Davies can make 2010 Ryder Cup team - Luke Donald

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

By Peter Shuttleworth
BBC Sport at the Celtic Manor

Luke Donald (left) triumphed over Rhys Davies (right) in last week's duel in the sun in Madrid
Donald edged Davies in a duel in the sun in Madrid last week

Luke Donald has given Welsh sensation Rhys Davies hope of making the 2010 Ryder Cup in his rookie season.

Englishman Donald was one of European captain Bernhard Langer's wildcards picks at the 2004 Ryder Cup after his first full season in Europe.

"My story must give Rhys confidence that Ryder Cup qualification this year can be done," Donald said.

Bridgend's Davies admits "it would be a dream come true" to make the first Ryder Cup to be staged in Wales.

Davies, ninth in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings, is one of 12 Welshmen in this week's Wales Open, but is the on-form favourite to become the first home winner in the 11th Celtic Manor showpiece.

Davies has already earned almost £640,000 since winning his European Tour card last winter in a stunning first season in which he has been hailed as the "best putter in the world" by fellow countryman and Ryder Cup hero Phil Price.

The 25-year-old has won the Hassan II Championship in Morocco and enjoyed three top-three finishes - including a runner-up spot to Donald at last week's Madrid Masters - in a memorable year.

I think his putting ability is because he has good self-belief and good fundamentals - and that is what putting is all about

Donald on Davies

Davies has understandably played down chances of qualifying for Colin Montgomerie's European Ryder Cup team, who will bid to regain the trophy from the United States at the Celtic Manor in October.

Davies acknowledges the romantic ideal of having one Welsh player in Monty's 12-man team - that will include three wildcard selections - and the added pressure of being Wales' number one in this big year for Welsh golf.

But skipper Monty, who partnered Davies at the Italian Open last month, has told him: "If he is in what I consider to be the top 12 players in Europe in August he'll be playing.

"I would love to have a Welshman in the team. It would be good for everybody, good for the county and good for the whole scene of the Ryder Cup."

But the 2003 British Boys champion accepts that 2010 may be a little too soon before he fulfils his Ryder Cup ambitions.

And Monty, who will pick his European team after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles ending on 29 August, will assess the make-up of his team before selecting his captain's wildcard picks.

Currently six potential European rookies make up the top nine automatic qualifiers for Monty's team.

Rhys Davies
Davies, like Donald, was a star of the college circuit in the US

If that situation was the same at the end of August, it would hinder Davies' dream of making his Ryder Cup debut in his homeland.

But Donald, who, like Davies, graduated from the American collegiate system, has given the Welshman cup hope before the pair play at this week's Wales Open on the Celtic Manor's Twenty Ten Ryder Cup host course.

"I'm sure it will be a great fairytale story for Rhys to play in Wales in the Ryder Cup," said the world number nine.

"It is every guy's dream to play in Ryder Cups. I think he has the talent to do that but I think he needs to win at least another event, if not two."

Davies could earn big Ryder Cup points if he performs well in the US Open and the Open Championship at St Andrews - and the world number 55 will earn huge brownie, plus Ryder Cup, points if he continues his impressive form at the Wales Open.

Donald partnered Davies on the final two rounds of last weekend's successful Madrid Masters and admits: "He is well-known for his putting but he is very steady off the tee and seems to be a very solid player.

"I think his putting ability is because he has good self-belief and good fundamentals - and that is what putting is all about.

"He has a good set-up, his eyes are very square to the target line, he has a good tempo on his stroke and he hits the ball with good acceleration.

I work hard on my putting and it's something that people don't quite realise how much time and effort I put into it

Rhys Davies

"When he was out in America, he was known as one of the best putters out there and has that reputation.

"And once you have that reputation and everyone keeps telling you what a good putter you are, you start believing it - and he is able to hole putts because of it.

"I think if he continues to play like he has been playing, and if he is able to sneak a win or two, he could definitely be playing here in October."

Davies is "flattered" by the putting praise and revealed he perfects his art on the carpet in his house.

"It's really dead ordinary," said Davies.

"I remember having a rubber hole when I was younger which had a little ramp up to it. So it actually makes it smaller than a normal hole and it cost just 10p.

"It has been the best investment I've ever made as I still use it now.

"I work hard on my putting and it's something that people don't quite realise how much time and effort I put into it.

"But the praise goes in one ear and out the other."



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see also
Donald pips Davies to Madrid win
30 May 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie could turn to Price
03 Jun 10 |  Golf
Donaldson back to his best
02 Jun 10 |  Golf
Wales hopes to end golf hoodoo
01 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
Twenty Ten course in photos
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Work starts on 2010 Ryder Cup
29 Sep 01 |  Golf
Wales Open - former winners
01 Jun 06 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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