Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jimenez aiming for success in Wales

Former winner Miguel Angel Jiménez will bid to reclaim The Celtic Manor Wales Open trophy when he tees up in this year’s tournament from June 4-7. Jiménez, who defends his BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club next week, joins Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin in the starting field for the £1.8m event at Celtic Manor. The amiable Spaniard has been a popular competitor in Wales since winning on his debut in 2005, one of 15 European titles he has collected in a career which also includes three Ryder Cup appearances – in 1999, 2004 and 2008. Fellow former Celtic Manor Wales Open champions Robert Karlsson, Paul McGinley, Paul Lawrie and Simon Khan have also confirmed their entries into the tournament as well as last year’s impressive winner Scott Strange, who recently claimed his second European Tour victory at the Volvo China Open. All will be aiming to become the first repeat winner of the tournament as it celebrates its 10th staging this summer. Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Dylan Matthews said: “We are delighted that Miguel Angel Jiménez will be playing once again in The Celtic Manor Wales Open. “He was a fantastic champion in 2005 and is always a tremendous draw for our galleries. With his big cigars and his even broader smile, Miguel is one of the game’s true characters as well as a very talented golfer. “I’m sure he’ll put up a great challenge to claim another victory but he will face strong competition from what is shaping up to be an excellent field for this year’s tournament.” Ryder Cup stars Thomas Bjorn, David Howell, Niclas Fasth, Oliver Wilson and Soren Hansen are also included in the field along with many more players who will be hoping to impress Captain Montgomerie and break into his team at Celtic Manor in 2010. They include England’s Nick Dougherty, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Volvo Masters champion Soren Kjeldsen from Denmark and French duo Raphael Jacquelin and Gregory Havret. With children under 16 enjoying free entry if accompanied by an adult, The Celtic Manor Wales Open offers a great family day out with the opportunity for youngsters to take their first swings at the game under the supervision of Golf Development Wales. Previous winners of The Celtic Wales Open: 2008 Scott Strange 2007 Richard Sterne 2006 Robert Karlsson 2005 Miguel Angel Jiménez 2004 Simon Khan 2003 Ian Poulter 2002 Paul Lawrie 2001 Paul McGinley 2000 Steen Tinning. The Celtic Manor Wales Open was the first European Tour event to be staged in Wales for a decade when Steen Tinning won the inaugural event in 2000. Prize money has more than doubled in the nine years since with a roll of champions which includes Ryder Cup stars Paul McGinley, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Robert Karlsson. The championship was held on the Wentwood Hills course from 2000-2004 before switching to The Celtic Manor Resort’s Roman Road course from 2005 to 2007 as work was carried out on the new Twenty Ten Course. The Twenty Ten, the first course ever to be purpose built to host The Ryder Cup, took over the staging of The Celtic Manor Wales Open from 2008. The Celtic Manor Wales Open strives to offer visitors more than just a golf tournament and sumptuous hospitality provision has been complemented by innovations such as Ladies Day and a family tented village complete with KidzZone.


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