The Open 2011: Rhys Davies targeting major breakthrough

The 140th Open Championship

Venue:
Royal St George's, Sandwich, Kent
Dates:
14-17 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, online (UK only) and Radio 5 live; text commentary on BBC Sport website (#bbcgolf) and mobiles; watch again on iPlayer
Rhys Davies
Davies feel she has the patience and skills to deal with Royal St George's

Rhys Davies feels a big win is just around the corner and believes the unique challenge of Royal St George's could be the scene of such a success.

"I've been playing steadily without fantastic results," said the Welshman, who will play his third Open this week.

"I've had a lot of good consistent ones so I'm waiting for a big break or a big week.

"I feel it's in me, I feel it could come at any moment. It'll be nice to see it this week."

Despite honing his skills on a classic links course on the south Wales cost at Royal Porthcawl, Davies has failed to shine on his two previous Open appearances.

He has failed to break par in each of his four rounds, missing the halfway cut by two shots in 2010 at St Andrews and by three in shots at Turnberry in 2009.

But the 26-year-old, considered as one of the best putters on the European tour, believes his short game will come to the fore this week when a player's ability to scramble and improvise will be tested in full.

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Open from the air

"I grew up playing links golf and we've got a great challenge ahead of us this week," said Davies, who qualified for the event by finishing inside the top 30 on the European Tour money list in 2010.

"It plays difficult even when there's no wind, so with the breeze this week it's going to be extra tricky.

"You've got to be very patient. There are a lot of humps and hollows out there - you'll get some good bounces and you'll get some bad ones.

"I think you've just got to try to treat those equally and rely on your short game.

"You're going to miss a lot of greens out there without hitting too many bad shots."

Davies will have some esteemed company when he tees off at 0714 BST on Thursday morning.

Playing companion Mark O'Meara won the coveted Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 1998, a victory that came three months after winning the Masters.

"I'm very pleased with that draw," added Davies, the 2003 British Boys Championship winner.

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"Playing with a past champion, a multiple major winner is fantastic.

"He's somebody I'm sure will know how to play on a golf course like this."

Newly crowned US Open champion Rory McIlroy has grabbed most of the headlines in the lead up to the Open, and the 22-year-old Northern Irishman will start as favourite.

Davies played alongside McIlroy in the defeated Great Britain and Ireland team in the 2007 Walker Cup, and claimed impressive singles victories against rising American stars Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, both of whom will also be at Royal St George's this week.

Of those four, Davies has certainly been left behind on the world professional stage, but the Bridgend-based player feels it is only a mater of time before he joins golf's top table.

"The aim this week is like any other tournament which is get into contention with nine holes to go - merely making the cut doesn't interest me," he said.

"I don't approach any tournament differently. If you're standing on the 10th tee on Sunday afternoon within a handful of shots to the lead then you're in good shape.

"You can definitely contend and try to win. And I'll approach things no different this week.

"There are four long days ahead but I'm looking forward to them all."

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