Bradley Dredge wants Wales Open home win

Bradley Dredge makes a putt in the shadow of the Celtic Manor clubhouse
Bradley Dredge makes a putt in the shadow of the Celtic Manor clubhouse

Bradley Dredge says Wales' leading golfers are desperate to win the home tournament they view as a fifth major.

The Wales Open began in 2000 but gets underway at Celtic Manor on Thursday still awaiting a home-grown champion.

But players of 2010 champion Graeme McDowell's calibre, a Ryder Cup star on the Twenty Ten course last October, stand in the way of Welsh hopes.

"Outside of the majors, for the Welsh guys... we also look at this week," Tredegar-born Dredge told BBC Wales.

"We still haven't had a Welsh winner and I'm sure Rhys Davies, Jamie Donaldson, Pricey [Phillip Price] and Stephen Dodd we're all looking to perform well this week.

"It's a big buzz, you've got a lot of family and friends with you and you get an awful lot of support - much more so here than other tournaments, obviously.

"I haven't played the course since last year unfortunately so it'll be nice to see it, I'm sure it'll be in good condition and we'll just see how it goes."

The Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship are the blue riband tournaments each season on the professional tour.

But with Europe's thrilling Ryder Cup win last year having been staged at Celtic Manor, the stock of the Wales Open has never been higher.

The 72-hole strokeplay tournament offers an European Tour top-10 prize fund of £1.8m, with £300,000 going to the winner.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn arrive in Newport this week.

When McDowell lifted the trophy last year he was pushed all the way by Davies, who has come as close as any Welshman to breaking the home nation's Wales Open duck.

The 25-year-old shot a course-record 62 in the final round to finish as last year's runner-up, with Dredge also a runner-up in 2007 behind Richard Sterne.

"It's great to come back and play at home and to get back to the course where I had a final-day 62 last summer makes it that bit more special," said Bridgend native Davies.

"A few more people know you and give you that extra support.

"The Twenty Ten Course is one that I feel suits my game and the Celtic Manor is becoming a familiar environment for me."

Of all the Welsh contingent involved this week, Donaldson arrives with the best form.

The Pontypridd native finished joint-seventh at last week's PGA Championship, five shots behind winner and new world number one Luke Donald.

Donaldson believes that his experiences on Wentworth's tough West Course will serve him well when he tackles the Twenty Ten's challenges.

"I played nicely last week, played slightly better as the week went on and ultimately it was my best finish there - so very happy," Donaldson said.

"I'm playing good, the game's good like it was last week.

"I didn't expect to play as well as I did last week, the golf course I find quite difficult now it's changed.

"It's a very tough golf course and this is as well, so who knows?

"I love coming back here, the weather looks great and the course looks as good too."

The Welsh contingent is expanded by the inclusion of Challenge Tour graduates Stuart Manley and Liam Bond, plus Simon Edwards - who qualifies through his performances in PGA events - and sponsors' invites Sion Bebb and Garry Houston.

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