Celtic Manor Calls for European Tour Underdogs

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Wales hero Gareth Bale is enjoying hosting duties as attention turns to Celtic Manor for this week's Cazoo Open.

John Catlin

After the grandeur of the Open Championship, this week’s Cazoo Open in Wales has a slightly pared-back feeling but offers some of the European Tour’s emerging names a chance for glory.

Staged on Celtic Manor’s TwentyTen course, the venue for that year’s Ryder Cup, the tournament even has a celebrity host in Gareth Bale.

The 32-year-old most recently piloted Wales to the last-16 of Euro 2020 but, according to the internet and the Spanish press, now prefers golf to football.

Bale will only feature in the pro-am, of course, but there are some other decent-sized names to keep an eye on in the middle leg of the seven-week British Isles Swing.

Returning Hero One to Watch

Although not always a perfect way to make predictions, course form is often a good pre-tournament barometer and Sam Horsfield has to be high on punters’ list having won the Celtic Classic at this venue last August.

The Mancunian endured a tough build-up to the Open, withdrawing in Ireland before missing the cut in Scotland but bounced back to shoot 70-70-69 at St George’s, only for a closing 74 to drop him to T67.

Fast-forward to this week and while it wasn’t as hard and fast as it could have been in Sandwich, the layout in Wales is a different world with wide fairways, gentle rough and water features galore.

Having also closed with a 65 at last year’s Wales Open, Horsfield’s aggressive game looks a perfect fit and his 12/1 marks him out as a live option.

Catlin Holds the Value

Those with a track record of getting the job done are always worth a look on weeks when there is a lower profile field.

A man who falls into that category is John Catlin, who has been quietly successful during his globetrotting career to date and has made his mark on the European Tour with three victories over the last 12 months.

The most recent of those came in April in Austria, where he edged Maximilian Kieffer in a play-off after closing with a 65 on a course not too dissimilar to this week’s.

Playing links golf is obviously not to his taste, missing the cut at both the Scottish Open and Royal St George’s and the American is likely to feel far more comfortable in Wales.

Those recent results are perhaps why he is out there at 33/1 for the victory but his record over the last year shows that his form can ignite on a week-by-week basis.

With him confident in the knowledge that he can win on the European Tour, the 30-year-old is at least worth a look at 6/1 for a top-five finish, having been T6 at the 2020 Celtic Classic.

Syme Again for Connor?

Finally and there could also be some real value in backing Connor Syme for a top-10 finish at 11/4.

The Scot clearly knows his way around Celtic Manor, leading through 54 holes at both the Celtic Classic and Welsh Open in 2020.

A decent 33/1 in the outright betting, his inability to finish the job on both occasions last season leads to doubts, eventually finishing third and eighth respectively.

The 26-year-old’s game is in solid if not spectacular shape, most recently recording a T35 in Scotland and while it might be a risk to take him on as far as winning in Wales goes, there is every chance he’ll be there or thereabouts.

*All odds correct at time of writing

The first choice in any quiz team, Jack is your man for stats, facts and information across a wide range of different sports. As well as a vast knowledge of football, he specialises in cycling, rugby and tennis amongst a number of other sports.

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