Course Overview. The Twenty-Ten course at Celtic Manor needs no introduction – at 7,503 yards the par 71 offers a decent test to the professionals with generous fairways encouraging a healthy smash off the tee, however with water lurking on many holes there’s no room for serious waywardness.
The exposed track, which is a fusion of the old Trent Jones Jnr-designed Wentwood Hills track combined with 9 new holes added by Ross McMurray back in 2007, features five par-3s and four par-5s to create its overall par of 71, and it’s those holes that may well hold the key to success around these parts. Scoring on the par 5s is essential, as it often is for the modern-day golfer; however survival on the tough par-3s is just as critical at Celtic Manor.
The short holes play tough and those players who can tame the 3rd, 7th, 10th, 13th and 17th over the course of the 4 days should set themselves in good stead for a decent week.
Changes to the 14th and 18th has seen over 100 yards added to the course total since last year, with the par 14th now measuring 485 yards, up from 413, and the closing Par-5 is now 613 yards, up from 575.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key statistics for this week’s event that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at the Wales Open, which was played here at Celtic Manor until 2014 with the Twenty-Ten Course being used from 2008 to 2014 specifically.
In addition, we also have the 2 events held here in back-to-back week in 2020, plus last year’s Hero Open to review: Current Form | Course Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats | SG Stats.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2021: (Cazoo Open): Nacho Elvira, 250/1; 2020 (Wales Open): Romain Langasque, 66/1; 2020 (Celtic Classic): Sam Horsfield, 28/1; 2014 (Wales Open): Joost Luiten, 14/1; 2013: Gregory Bourdy, 40/1; 2012: Thongchai Jaidee, 125/1; 2011: Alexander Noren, 66/1; 2010: Graeme McDowell, 22/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.
A pleasant-looking 4 days for the players is the summary with sunny spells, light winds at circa 10mph and temperatures nudging towards the mid-70s Fahrenheit in the afternoons.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Analysing the final stats of the past winners on the Twenty-Ten course from 2008-14, as well as from 2020 onwards, gives us a little more insight into the type of player suited to this test:
- 2021 (Cazoo Open), Nacho Elvira (-16). 311 yards (35th), 65.4% fairways (9th), 73.6% greens in regulation (8th), 63.2% scrambling (23rd), 1.69 putts per GIR (10th).
- 2020 (Wales Open), Romain Langasque (-8). 314 yards (9th), 65.4% fairways (41st), 70.9% greens in regulation (13th), 76.2% scrambling (5th), 1.81 putts per GIR (35th).
- 2020 (Celtic Classic), Sam Horsfield (-18). 294 yards (66th), 55.8% fairways (54th), 79.2% greens in regulation (12th), 73.3% scrambling (11th), 1.69 putts per GIR (15th).
- 2014, Joost Luiten (-14). 290 yards (51st), 63.5% fairways (12th), 80.6% greens in regulation (4th), 71.4% scrambling (6th), 1.74 putts per GIR (19th).
- 2013, Gregory Bourdy (-8). 284 yards (54th), 53.8% fairways (38th), 66.7% greens in regulation (26th), 62.5% scrambling (6th), 1.73 putts per GIR (13th).
- 2012, Thongchai Jaidee (-6). 287 yards (35th), 59.6% fairways (22nd), 73.6% greens in regulation (7th), 36.8% scrambling (55th), 1.66 putts per GIR (2nd).
- 2011, Alex Noren (-9). 304 yards (1st), 59.6% fairways (9th), 76.4% greens in regulation (2nd), 70.6% scrambling (3rd), 1.82 putts per GIR (31st).
- 2010, Graeme McDowell (-15). 283 yards (36th), 71.2% fairways (12th), 80.6% greens in regulation (1st), 50% scrambling (34th), 1.67 putts per GIR (7th).
- 2009, Jeppe Huldahl (-9). 274 yards (37th), 55.8% fairways (53rd), 70.8% greens in regulation (17th), 66.7% scrambling (2nd), 1.69 putts per GIR (6th).
- 2008, Scott Strange (-22). 276 yards (41st), 75% fairways (22nd), 80.6% greens in regulation (10th), 78.6% scrambling (4th), 1.62 putts per GIR (1st).
Aside from Scott Strange’s win in 2008, the updates made to the Twenty-Ten Course to make it Ryder Cup ready essentially toughened it up. The yardage and course setup suggests that bombers should prosper here, however they certainly don’t have it all their own way if you look at the contenders and winners of the Wales Open before it dropped off the schedule in 2014.
No particular stats stand out from the numbers above, with winners having a generally good week in all departments with perhaps a leaning towards Greens in Regulation and Putting.
Sam Horsfield followed that trend again in 2020, finishing inside the top-15 for GIR, Scrambling and Putting Average on his way to victory; Romain Langasque also ranked 13th for GIR and 5th for Scrambling in tougher conditions a week later. Nacho Elvira was also fairly balanced across all stats when converting here last year, ranking 9th for Accuracy, 8th for GIR, 23rd for Scrambling and 10th for Putting Average.
SG Stats. From a Strokes Gained perspective, SG off the tee and SG putting was the route to success for Romain Langasque in challenging conditions at the 2020 Wales Open. Sam Horsfield’s success by 10 less shots the week before was fuelled by SG Approach and SG Tee to Green. On both occasions, SG Around The Green was seemingly the least important factor of all for both of the winners and the nearest contenders:
- 2021 Cazoo Open, Nacho Elvira: T: 2nd; A: 8th; T2G: 4th; ATG: 23rd; P: 4th
- Wales Open, Romain Langasque: T: 4th; A: 18th; T2G: 12th; ATG: 69th; P: 8th
- Celtic Classic, Sam Horsfield: T: 22nd; A: 3rd; T2G: 2nd; ATG: 28th; P: 13th
Perhaps the most striking stats though came from last year’s renewal where the top 7 finishers ranked 8th, 7th, 1st, 5th, 3rd, 2nd and 6th respectively for SG Approach; in addition the same 7 players also ranked 4th, 6th, 2nd, 5th, 3rd, 8th and 1st for SG Tee to Green on the week. That’s symmetry like we rarely see on a final leaderboard.
Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.
Incoming Form: 250/1 was the reward for any backers who managed to find Nacho Elvira last year with not so much as a top-50 finish in his previous 14 starts. 3rd to halfway and 16th overall at the season-opening Abu Dhabi Championship was positive, however that was a full 6 months prior.
Sam Horsfield’s win at the 2020 Celtic Classic came hot on the heels of his breakthrough European Tour success just a fortnight before at the Hero Open and, in all, that was the Englishman’s 4th top-10 finish in 7 starts. Romain Langasque, who won the week afterwards, was a little more difficult to find as he’d failed to break the top 20 on his previous 11 starts, although there were a couple of eye-catching rounds in his 26th place effort at the English Championship a fortnight before.
Going further back to the Wales Open, Joost Luiten had been knocking quite loudly on the door prior to victory here back in 2014, finally converting after recording two consecutive top-5 finishes. Gregory Bourdy, Alex Noren, Graeme McDowell and Scott Strange had all posted at least one top-10 finish in their past 7 starts to hint at enough form to justify an investment; however Thongchai Jaidee, and to an even larger extent Jeppe Huldahl, were tougher to find with patchy incoming results:
- 2021, Nacho Elvira: 68/MC/MC/MC/MC/73/MC/MC/MC/55/MC/MC
- 2020, Romain Langasque: 9/30/40/26/34/27/MC/MC/38/53/57/26
- 2020, Sam Horsfield: 49/53/62/12/MC/MC/7/MC/MC/10/1/MC
- 2014, Joost Luiten: 4/12/3/MC/18/51/MC/56/26/52/4/5
- 2013, Gregory Bourdy: MC/11/MC/21/12/59/8/58/34/49/64/23
- 2012, Thongchai Jaidee: MC/20/42/41/64/MC/29/25/21/56
- 2011, Alex Noren: 13/31/8/MC/WD/MC/23/4/MC/5/11/MC
- 2010, Graeme McDowell: MC/14/20/33/31/6/MC/MC/8/28/26/28/4
- 2009, Jeppe Huldahl: 23/MC/12/49/52/MC/MC/65/MC/MC/MC
- 2008, Scott Strange: 7/33/MC/25/2/21/MC/14/14/35/MC
Course Form (back to 2008):
If last year’s winner Nacho Elvira was a little difficult to find on current form alone, there had been some vague hints that Celtic Manor should suit if you dug deep enough into his 2020 efforts as he sat 10th and 2nd at halfway respectively before fading. Both of the 2020 winners though arrived at Celtic Manor making their competitive debuts on the track.
Going back to 2014, to back up Luiten’s current form credentials the time we played here before the 6-year break, he also arrived here having come close to victory on each of his previous two attempts at the Twenty-Ten Course and was understandably the favourite to win 8 years ago.
Like Luiten, Gregory Bourdy also had strong course form to encourage his backers prior to lifting the trophy in 2013; prior to that, winners’ form here at Celtic Manor was a little patchier:
- 2021, Nacho Elvira: 65/39/44
- 2020, Romain Langasque: Debut
- 2020, Sam Horsfield: Debut
- 2014, Joost Luiten: 2/4
- 2013, Gregory Bourdy: 21/10/39/2/14
- 2012, Thongchai Jaidee: 39/26/MC
- 2011, Alex Noren: MC/39
- 2010, Graeme McDowell: 39
- 2009, Jeppe Huldahl: Debut
- 2008, Scott Strange: Debut
We saw from the two events held here in 2020 that a little bit of wind can turn this from a straightforward assignment into a grind, however with little in the forecast to trouble the players this week, I’m expecting a winning total towards the upper teens under par on Sunday.
Solid tee-to-green and precise approach play tends to be key here as the Bent/Poa putting surfaces aren’t the toughest on Tour, so those who are dialled in with their irons should enjoy this week’s task.
My selections are as follows: