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PGA European - ISPS Handa Wales Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, May 31st through Sunday, June 3rd
SITE: The Celtic Manor Resort (Twenty Ten Course), Newport, Wales
COURSE ARCHITECT: Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1995), Ross McMurray (2007)
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 7,378
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 465 Yds10 - Par 3 210 Yds
2 - Par 5 610 Yds11 - Par 5 562 Yds
3 - Par 3 189 Yds12 - Par 4 458 Yds
4 - Par 4 461 Yds13 - Par 3 189 Yds
5 - Par 4 433 Yds14 - Par 4 485 Yds
6 - Par 4 422 Yds15 - Par 4 377 Yds
7 - Par 3 213 Yds16 - Par 4 499 Yds
8 - Par 4 439 Yds17 - Par 3 211 Yds
9 - Par 5 580 Yds18 - Par 5 575 Yds
36 3,812 Yds35 3,566 Yds
Annual:  13th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday -- 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (et),
  - Friday -- 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 8 a.m.-12 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Alexander Noren
Runner-Up:  Anders Hansen, Gregory Bourdy
Tournament Record (Par 72):  267 (Simon Khan, Paul Casey, 2004)
Tournament Record (Par 71):  262 (Scott Strange, 2008)
Tournament Record (Par 69):  260 (Robert Karlsson, 2006)
54-Hole Record (Par 72):  197 (Paul Casey, 2004)
54-Hole Record (Par 71):  198 (Scott Strange, 2008)
54-Hole Record (Par 69):  189 (Robert Karlsson, 2006)
36-Hole Record (Par 72):  130 (Simon Khan, 2004)
36-Hole Record (Par 71):  129 (Scott Strange, 2008)
36-Hole Record (Par 69):  124 (Robert Karlsson, 2006)
18-Hole Record:  60 (Phillip Archer, 2006 - Roman Road Course)
Course Record:  62 (Rhys Davies, 2010)
Total Purse:  $2,814,344 (1,800,000 pounds)
Share:  1st Place - $468,840; 2nd Place - $312,560; 3rd Place - $176,096
2011 Finish
Alexander Noren275Johan Edfors278
Anders Hansen277Pablo Larrazabal278
Gregory Bourdy277Jamie Donaldson280
Ricardo Gonzalez278Magnus A. Carlsson280
Peter Hanson278Peter Whiteford280
Joel Sjoholm280
Past ISPS Handa Wales Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011Alexander Noren (275) -- Anders Hansen, Gregory Bourdy
2010Graeme McDowell (269) -- Rhys Davies
2009Jeppe Huldahl (275) -- Niclas Fasth
2008Scott Strange (262) -- Robert Karlsson
2007Richard Sterne (263) -- Mardan Mamat, Mads Vibe-Hastrup, Soren Kjeldsen,
Bradley Dredge
2006Robert Karlsson (260) -- Paul Broadhurst
2005Miguel Angel Jimenez (262) -- Martin Erlandsson, Jose Manuel Lara
2004*Simon Khan (267) -- Paul Casey
2003Ian Poulter (270) -- Darren Fichardt, Jarrod Moseley, Jonathan Lomas
2002Paul Lawrie (272) -- John Bickerton
2001#*Paul McGinley (138) -- Daren Lee, Paul Lawrie
2000Steen Tinning (273) -- David Howell

# - Rain Shortened

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly known as Celtic Manor Wales Open (2000-10),
Saab Wales Open (2011).

Top Contenders in the Field
Alexander Noren---------------mcmc---T-39Won
Gregory Bourdy---------wdmcT-14T-21T-10T-39T-2
Anders Hansen---T-57---T-44---T-49------mcT-2
Richard McEvoy------mc---mcmc------T-9T-12
Marcel SiemwdmcT-15wdT-7T-63T-15T-437thT-30
Simon KhanmcmcWonT-73mcT-35mcT-21mcT-37
Soren Kjeldsen------72ndT-17---T-2T-61---T-34T-41
Jose Manuel LaramcmcmcT-2mcT-52T-61T-31T-31T-50
Scott Strange------------------WonT-59mcT-50
Rhys Davies------------------mcT-172nd58th
Miguel A. Jimenez---------Wonmc---wdT-178thmc
Thomas Bjorn---------wd------T-21T-43T-9mc
Jeppe Huldahl------mc------------WonT-39mc
Colin Montgomerie---mcT-15mc4thT-20T-58T-37T-46mc
Paul LawrieWon---mcT-17T-21T-29mcwdmcmc
Francesco Molinari---------wd---mcT-4mcT-56---
Richard Sterne---mcT-74T-24T-34Wonmc---------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Paul Lawrie
Darkhorse - Marcel Siem
Last Week's Pick to Win (Luke Donald) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse (Matteo Manassero) - Finished tied for 43rd
Alexander Noren will try to become the first back-to-back winner of this event, as he defends his title this week at the 13th installment of the ISPS Handa Wales Open. Three of the top-40 players in the world are in the field - Paul Lawrie (29), Francesco Molinari (32) and Thomas Bjorn (37).

Lawrie tied for second last week at the BMW PGA Championship. He has six top-10 finishes this year on the European Tour, including a win at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. Lawrie is currently fifth on the Race to Dubai.

Molinari finished tied for seventh last week at the BMW PGA Championship. He has four top-10 finishes in 2012, including a victory at the Reale Seguros Open de Espana.

Last year, Noren shot rounds of 67-67-71-70 to win by two strokes over Anders Hansen and Gregory Bourdy. Noren captured his second European Tour title and first since the 2009 European Masters. Jamie Donaldson tied for eighth to represent the top Welsh player.

In 2009, Jeppe Huldahl strung together seven straight pars at the end of his final round to shoot a four-under 67 and win. Huldahl earned his first European Tour victory at nine-under-par 275, hanging on for a one-stroke victory over Niclas Fasth. It was an astonishing rise to the top for Huldahl, who had never cracked the top 10 in any of his previous 44 starts on the European Tour.

Scott Strange fired a flawless, seven-under 64 in the final round in 2008 to earn his first European Tour victory. The Australian finished the tournament at 22-under 262 and won by four shots over Robert Karlsson. Strange led wire-to-wire, as he started the tournament with a brilliant 63, then fought off a mild challenge from Karlsson on the final day to get that first win.

In 2007, Richard Sterne got off to a tough start in the final round, but four birdies over the final five holes propelled him to victory. Sterne closed with a four-under 65, but wasn't assured the victory until third-round leader and local favorite Bradley Dredge lipped out a par putt on the final hole. Sterne finished the event at 13-under-par 263. He became the youngest winner in tournament history at 25 years and 280 days. Miguel Angel Jimenez was the oldest winner when he won in 2005 at 41 years and 151 days.

Nine players were tied for the lead following the first round in 2007. That set a new European Tour record for most players tied for the lead after any first round in history. The old record was eight set at the 1995 European Masters.

In 2006, Karlsson started the final round in search of several European Tour records. Instead, he stumbled to a two-over 71, which was still good enough for a three-stroke win over Paul Broadhurst. The Swede ended the tournament at 16-under-par 260. That was good enough for the tournament record. Jimenez set the old mark of 262 in 2005. Karlsson only needed to shoot even-par in the final round to tie the European Tour record for lowest 72-hole score (258), but a balky putter was his undoing in the final round, as he carded 32 putts. He established a tour record for lowest 54-hole score with a three-round total of 189. That total also bettered the tournament's 54-hole record by eight strokes. He also established a new 36-hole mark for the European Tour of 124.

The European Tour moves to Sweden next week for the Nordea Masters in Stockholm, where Noren also won last year.

05/29 16:03:20 ET

As of May 29, 2012, at 04:03 PM ET

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