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Page last updated at 20:05 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 21:05 UK

America's lone ranger

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 0035 BST on BBC ONE Wales and Sunday highlights at 2230 BST on BBC TWO Wales. Live on Sky Sports 3

By Peter Shuttleworth
BBC Sport at Celtic Manor

Anthony Kang in action at the Celtic Manor Wales Open
Kang missed the cut after a horrible 80 in the second round

Anthony Kang is probably not on Corey Pavin's Ryder Cup radar and - considering the taekwondo master is 339 in the world - he is unlikely to drop into the America captain's consciousness anytime soon.

Pavin's stars in stars and stripes will battle to retain the Ryder Cup for the first time in 17 years on Celtic Manor's Twenty Ten course in October.

Yet the who's who of American golf - Tiger Woods and all - did not take up the chance to play at the Ryder Cup's dress rehearsal, instead assembling at the Memorial on the PGA Tour.

It left one lonely man whistling the Star Spangled Banner in the Usk Valley sunshine this week.

Kang left behind the sweltering desert heat of Las Vegas to be the only American at the Costa del Celtic Manor competing against some of the best of Colin Montgomerie's Europeans.

It is a very American style of golf course and is very long

Anthony Kang

And if Luke Donald, Ross McGowan, Martin Kaymer and co feared the 38-year-old was the enemy within the field - on a reconnaissance mission for Pavin as the US skipper was putting his feet up on the Champions Tour in Iowa - they need not have worried.

Kang had nothing to write home to Pavin about after his second-round display on this Montgomerie-adapted 7,378-yard course as he shot a nine-over par 80 - the second worst-round of the day - to end his Welsh stay on 10 over.

And the 2009 Malaysian Open champion is experiencing the trip home from this course feeling the same emotion that captain Monty hopes Kang's more esteemed countrymen will feel in four months.

Kang enjoyed three birdies, including one on the par-five second hole where 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie took 11.

But the flipside to his reward was two double bogeys and a quadruple bogey on the par four, 433-yard fifth.

So while Kang may not be expecting a call from Pavin on how to tame the Twenty Ten, he did suggest the course might favour the visitors, adding to Englishman Luke Donald's belief the course has "an American feel".

"It is a very American style of golf course and is very long," Kang told BBC Sport.

"There isn't much strategy on this golf course. You have to hit your drive well as there are not many par fours where you are using your driver and pitching wedge. You have to come out and play a solid, solid golf course.

"You have to hit a straight drive and obviously putting it on the fairway is a premium.

"As I found out, there is enough trouble out there to make a big score and there's enough water around that if you hit a hit a poor shot then you're going to get penalised.

"My advice to anyone playing this course is you can't really attack it because it is so long.

"On some courses you see a lot of birdies on reachable par fives and short par fours - but you are going to have solid shots throughout the day to make birdies out there.

"But after my round today, I wouldn't listen to me!"

The speech communication graduate may not be able to share his university degree with Pavin, but he could certainly point out the pitfalls of the Newport layout.

Paul Lawrie's second round was destroyed by a disastrous 11 at the second
Paul Lawrie took a disastrous 11 shots at the second

Kang, born in South Korea before moving to the States at the age of 10, has swum against the flow as he is an American playing regularly in Europe at a time when many Europeans are lured across the Atlantic by the big bucks.

Kang was not the only one beaten up by the 2010 Ryder Cup host course as the Celtic Manor scoreboard was, like Great Britain's electoral map after the last General Election, mainly blue, as shots dropped all around.

Chilean Felipe Aguilar, like Kang, suffered a four-over at the par-four 461-yard dog-leg fifth, while Welshman Phil Price also ensured a quadruple bogey at another par-four, hitting into the water hazard on the 485-yard 14th.

But the biggest losers were two of the tournament's most esteemed professionals.

Kaymer, the world number 12, needed eight shots to complete the 189-yard par-three third after taking a bath in the lake protecting the green.

But 2002 Wales Open champion Lawrie went from the sublime to the ridiculous as the Scot followed five birdies with a nightmare 11 that contained an incredible eight putts.

Donald, Europe's two-time Ryder Cup hero, also rode a rollercoaster course-equalling record round of 65, which included a double bogey, a bogey, and nine stunning birdies.

And Frenchman Francois Delamontagne celebrated a hole-in-one at the 161m 17th in his up-and-down round of 74 to suggest the only thing predictable on this course is its unpredictability.



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see also
Siem & Dodt share Wales Open lead
04 Jun 10 |  Golf
Wood takes early Wales Open lead
03 Jun 10 |  Golf
Wales' sporting weekend in photos
05 Jun 10 |  Wales
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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