Noren looking for Celtic Manor inspiration

Wales Open preview

Golfmagic Tour
Tue, 29 May 2012
Noren looking for Celtic Manor inspiration

Alex Noren is hoping history repeats itself this week as he goes in search of becoming the first player to defend the Wales Open.

The powerful Swede has certainly got off on the right foot given he repeated his feat from 12 months ago by qualifying for the US Open at Walton Heath.

Noren, who led the 36-hole US Open qualifying with Scotland’s Marc Warren on Monday, is now looking to continue his good form heading to The Celtic Manor Resort – a venue that holds special memories.

“I’m very happy to come through US Open qualifying because I was really tired on Monday morning after Wentworth,” said Noren, who finished in a tie for 21st in the BMW PGA Championship on 1-under.

“When I qualified for the US Open last year, it really turned my season around because I went on to win in Wales straight after. Hopefully this year will be the same.

“I’d had a tough time at Celtic Manor before but last year everything felt really great and I played very well.

“I was excellent from tee to green. All the memories and the things you look back on when you recall a win come to mind and make you feel good. It’s going to be really fun to go back there.”

The 29-year-old, who is trailing in 31st on the European Points List for Medinah, has not yet given up hope of a Ryder Cup debut but admits he’ll need a couple of victories in the next three months.

“I need to play super well from here on in to make the European Team. I’d have to win a lot,” he added.

“I’m playing okay. It was nice to play well in Asia two weeks running and my game is a lot better than it was at the start of the year – I feel a lot better, physically and mentally.

“I still need to improve a bit. There’s not a lot of work to do but it’s just a question of keeping at it and maybe practising less every day – but better. We’re working on it.”

Four members of the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup team will be in action this week including Spanish stalwart Miguel Angel Jimenez, England’s Ross Fisher and Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, as well as captain Colin Montgomerie.

And Paul Lawrie will surely fancy his chances of repeating his 2002 Wales Open triumph. The Scot, who ranks second on the European Ryder Cup points list as things stand, won the Qatar Masters in February and finished in a tie for second with Justin Rose at Wentworth last week.

Wales Open

The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales

Thursday May 31 to Sunday June 3

The Course
Par-71; 7,378 yards


Defending Champion
Alex Noren (-9)

Tournament Records
Most wins: 1 (2011 Alex Noren, 2010 Graeme McDowell, 2009 Jeppe Huldahl, 2008 Scott Strange, 2007 Richard Sterne, 2006 Robert Karlsson, 2005 Miguel Angel Jimenez, 2004 Simon Khan, 2003 Ian Poulter, 2002 Paul Lawrie, 2001 Paul McGinley, 2000 Steen Tinning)
Lowest score to par: -22 Scott Strange (2008)

Did you know?
The tournament was originally played over the resort's Wentwood Hills course, but while that course was being redeveloped in readiness for the Ryder Cup, for three years it was played over the Roman Road course. Since 2008, the event has been played on the Ryder Cup Twenty-Ten course.

Live Coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Friday: Sky Sports 1 from 3.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports 1 from 1pm
Sunday: Sky Sports 1 from 12pm

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