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

DATES: Thursday, August 29th through Sunday, September 1st
SITE: The Celtic Manor Resort (Twenty Ten Course), Newport, Wales
COURSE ARCHITECT: Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1995), Ross McMurray (2007)
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 7,352
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 4 413 Yds
6 - Par 4 452 Yds15 - Par 4 377 Yds
7 - Par 3 213 Yds16 - Par 4 477 Yds
8 - Par 4 439 Yds17 - Par 3 211 Yds
9 - Par 5 580 Yds18 - Par 5 613 Yds
36 3,842 Yds35 3,510 Yds
Annual:  14th
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:  Thongchai Jaidee
Runner-Up:  Thomas Bjorn, Richard Sterne, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, Joost Luiten
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:  $2,804,809 (1,800,000 pounds)
Share:  1st Place - $466,370; 2nd Place - $310,928; 3rd Place - $175,176
2012 Finish
Thongchai Jaidee278Paul McGinley280
Thomas Bjorn279Ross Fisher280
Richard Sterne279Peter Lawrie281
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano279Joel Sjoholm281
Joost Luiten279Romain Wattel281
Past ISPS Handa Wales Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Thongchai Jaidee (278) -- Thomas Bjorn, Richard Sterne,
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Joost Luiten
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
Thongchai Jaideemc------T-42wdT-39T-26---mcWon
Thomas Bjorn------wd------T-21T-43T-9mcT-2
G. Fdez-Castano------wd---T-439th---T-12---T-2
Joost Luiten---------------------------T-2
Gregory Bourdy------wdmcT-14T-21T-10T-39T-2T-14
Richard McEvoy---mc---mcmc------T-9T-12T-18
Thorbjorn Olesen------------------------T-50T-18
Stephen GallacherT-21T-34T-60T-34T-20T-58mcT-4mcT-42
Francesco Molinari------wd---mcT-4mcT-56---T-46
Simon KhanmcWonT-73mcT-35mcT-21mcT-37T-48
Miguel A. Jimenez------Wonmc---wdT-178thmcT-57
Tommy Fleetwood---------------------------T-57
Ricardo GonzalezT-48mcwd---T-43T-47mcT-31T-4T-62
Scott Strange---------------WonT-59mcT-50mc
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Thorbjorn Olesen
Darkhorse - Ricardo Gonzalez
Last Week's Pick to Win (Francesco Molinari) - Finished tied for 42nd
Last Week's Darkhorse (Marc Warren) - Missed the cut
Thongchai Jaidee will try to become the first back-to-back winner of this event, as he defends his title this week at the 14th installment of the ISPS Handa Wales Open. Two of the top-50 players in the world are in the field - Francesco Molinari (43) and Thorbjorn Olesen (44). Most of the top players from the European Tour are playing in the FedExCup Playoffs on the PGA Tour.

Last year, Thongchai Jaidee stumbled to bogeys on two of his last three holes in the final round, but managed to hold on for a 1-stroke victory over four players. Jaidee carded rounds of 71-68-67-72 to finish at 6-under-par 278. The win was Jaidee's fifth on the European Tour, but first on European soil. His previous four titles all occurred in Asia. Jaidee became the oldest winner of this tournament at 42 years old.

In 2009, Jeppe Huldahl strung together seven straight pars at the end of his final round to shoot a 4-under 67 and win. Huldahl earned his first European Tour victory at 9-under-par 275, hanging on for a 1-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, 7-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 4-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.

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 2-over 71, which was still good enough for a 3-stroke win over Paul Broadhurst. The Swede ended the tournament at 16- under-par 260. That was good enough for the tournament record. Miguel Angel 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, as he carded 32 putts. He established a tour record for lowest 54-hole score with a 3-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 Switzerland next week for the Omega European Masters, where Richie Ramsay won last year.

08/27 16:01:58 ET

As of August 27, 2013, at 04:02 PM ET