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Wales Open Tips & Predictions: Keep the faith with Green

Three Wales Open tips and predictions from Celtic Manor.
Three Wales Open tips and predictions from Celtic Manor.

Our golf tipster Russell Palmer picks out three players to follow in this week's Wales Open on the European Tour...

It's the penultimate event in the UK Swing this week as Celtic Manor readies itself for another hammering from Thursday with the Wales Open. Much like Muirfield Village in the States hosting back-to-back tournaments earlier in the summer (Workday Charity Open & The Memorial), Celtic Manor's Twenty Ten course hosts this week's event, with the majority of players having played here last week in the Celtic Classic which was won by Sam Horsfield.

The Englishman has one two of his four starts during this UK Swing, plus another top ten finish and the 16/1 about his chances to win again this week had been snapped up by the time I came to write this week's column early on Tuesday morning.

At 16's Horsfield looked a really attractive price but the 12/1 is about right and he shares favouritism with Belgium's Thomas Pieters who finished third here last week.

Looking at the Muirfield events for clues as to how to approach this, the Memorial which was played second was almost like playing on a different course, as the organisers let the rough grow up and sped up the greens. Jon Rahm's winning total at the Memorial was ten shots more than Collin Morikawa carded for the Workday Charity Open a week earlier and although course set up maybe the same in Wales, conditions look set to make this week a much tougher challenge for the golfers.

With rain predicted all week and winds into the 20mph throughout the tournament we can expect this to be much more of a grind and higher scores than Horsfield's winning 18 under par.

Rahm had played the course the week before, finishing in a tie for 27th in the Workday before winning well the following week.

I've picked out three players who all lined up last week and showed signs that they were getting to grip with the course.

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Wales Open at a glance

Last week I joked that I could have copied and pasted the write up I gave Gavin Green for the English Championship and once again I make him my main pick, for a third week running.

He missed the cut at the English Championship but on four under par so it was no horror show, last week he never really played his way into contention but the final round eight under par 63 showed what he has in his armoury and I'm happy to give him another chance this week at 33/1 with 888Sport.

The Malaysian had 19 birdies and two eagles last week at this course and if he can cut out the silly mistakes that saw him shoot a double and a treble during the tournament he can be right up there on Sunday.

Tied for 11th in the end, his stats are consistently good this season, ranking top 25 for driving distance, driving accuracy, GIR, putts per GIR, average putts per GIR and third for stroke average this season.

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Second up this week is the consistent Connor Syme, who was third here last week.

The Scotsman carded his second top-5 finish on the European Tour since lockdown was eased, finishing in a tie for 4th in the Austrian Open six weeks ago and making the cut on his other two starts.

That third place finish last week was in the main thanks to a third round 63 and drawing a blank on Sunday shooting a level par 71 things could have been different for the 25-year-old.

Syme's stats read really well, ranking 3rd for driving accuracy on the European Tour this season, 8th for greens in regulation and 8th for scoring average.

You can get 50/1 about Syme each-way with Bet365 paying five places which looks a good price.

Last up this week I have another golfer playing well who is a big price this week.

American John Catlin may not be a household name but he's trending in the right direction having picked up two top tens since the European Tour resumed.

Finishing in a tie for 6th place here on Sunday thanks to a final round 65, Caitlin ranked 1st for driving accuracy in his fourth round and ranks 6th for the season as a whole on the European Tour.

Carding all four rounds in the 60's, Caitlin also recorded a top ten in the Austrian Open and finished in the top 50 on his other two starts.

If you're worrying about whether he'd have the spuds coming down the stretch, don't. The 29 year old is a four time winner on the Asian Tour and knows what it takes to get over the line. At 90/1 with Paddy Power this week who are paying each-way down to seven places.

Best of the rest

As I mentioned at the top, don't be surprised to see Sam Horsfield go well again, he's clearly in excellent form but the 12/1 is about right.

Englishman Ross Fisher has been in and out with two missed cuts and two top 30 finishes. He shot a four under par 67 on Sunday and has some good vibes at the Twenty Ten course where he made his Ryder Cup debut ten years ago.

A player I'm keeping a close eye on the European Tour is Wilco Nienaber. The South African finished in a tie for 22nd last week which included 17 birdies and two eagles over the four days, plus he finished fourth in his only other start in the English Championship. The 21-year-old is an absolute bomber averaging nearly 340 yards off the tee and ranked number one on tour. 

Winning 21 titles as an amateur including the South African Amateur Championship last year, his swing speed is 135mph, which is Bryson DeChambeau levels. At 50/1 the bookmakers already have him well on side given his lack of experience, but one to watch for sure.

As ever, if you're following good luck with your bets and always gamble responsibly.

Follow me on twitter @rustyboy75.

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