This week on the European Tour we return to the scene of Europe's 2010 Ryder cup success and it will be happy memories for those that were part of the team and backroom staff - something to keep in mind for your picks this week. Edoardo Molinari is standout name that played a part in the European victory and both are simmering nicely form wise and look appealing at 30.0 and 40.0 respectively.
Heading the market is little brother Francesco Molinari, another key performer for Europe almost two years ago at Celtic Manor and in the form he's in, a very justifiable favourite at 13.0. Two Ryder cup hopefuls lie just behind Francesco in the betting: Paul Lawrie (15.0) comes into the event arguably in the form of his life with a win already under his belt this year and off the back of a second place finish at Wentworth. Defending Wales Open champ, Alexander Noren (20.0) also found form in that event, posting a top 25 finish, and went on to win the US Open qualifying at Walton Heath on Monday. Noren is available at 4.50 for a place and is definitely one to watch this week.
The course - Celtic Manor Resort
Measuring in at a lengthy 7,378 yards on the scorecard, big hitters will have an advantage this week. The course comprises five par 3s averaging around 200 yards which will be key to scoring. The risk-reward par five 18th and the driveable par four 15th may have a big say in the eventual outcome of proceedings. Many green complexes are elevated and deceptively large, and slightly wayward approach shots are likely to fall off the putting surfaces, leaving delicate up and downs. The course is exposed and wind may be a factor. Water comes into play on a lot of the holes.
Three From The Pack
Streaky George Coetzee catapulted himself into the upper echelons of the European Tour elite last season with a host of stellar performances and top six finishes. Yet to win, it won't be too long a wait for the South African and on a course that rewards top drivers of the golf ball, it could be his week. 21st last week added to two top tens in his last four starts, Coetzee is lurking ominously and is one of the tour's best putters, averaging 28.24 putts per round; if he get the blade going this week, 20.0 on the win or 4.50 on the place may look big come Sunday.
Thomas Bjorn is a big fancy of mine to go well this week. Fired up at Wentworth, the Dane carded a final round 69 to post a 43rd place finish and may be just about to hit first gear again; memories of the Ryder Cup success at Celtic Manor may be just what he needs to ignite his season. Three-time winner on tour last season, steely competitor Bjorn will be all guns blazing over the next few months to try and secure a Ryder cup playing berth this time around and can be backed at 30.0 for the win or 7.0 for the top five finish.
Pablo Larrazabal has been in very consistent form in 2011 and a win may be just around the corner for the Spaniard. Second in the Open De Espana a few weeks ago, Pablo also boasts course form at Celtic Manor, finishing in a tie for fourth in 2011. The course set up should suit Larrazabal who averages over 290 yards from the tee and has a GIR% of just under 70%. Going along nicely at -7 during the recent Walton Heath US Open qualifier, Pablo blew up on the back nine of his second round to miss out on one of the coveted spots. The two-time winner, trading at 35.0 for the win or 8.0 for the place, will be keen to make amends in Wales.