Ryder Cup Stars Among Late Entrants For ISPS Handa Wales Open

Posted at 10:05 on 16 May 2012

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Ryder Cup stars Miguel Angel Jiménez and Thomas Bjorn are among the late entries for the ISPS Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor from May 31-June 3.

Jiménez, a former tournament champion, was part of the winning European team when he made his fourth Ryder Cup appearance at Celtic Manor in 2010. Bjorn was part of Colin Montgomerie’s backroom team as a Vice-Captain in Wales, having been on the winning side in two Ryder Cups as a player in 1999 and 2002.

With a smile and a cigar never far from his lips, Jiménez’s relaxed on-course demeanour belies a steely determination when it comes to closing out tournament wins and the 2005 Wales Open champion tasted victory three times in 2010 before making a telling contribution to Europe’s Ryder Cup success at Celtic Manor.

Bjorn secured his first European Tour victory for four years when he captured the Estoril Open de Portugal in 2010, and he followed it up with three more tournament wins in 2011 including back-to-back titles at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and the Omega European Masters.

The Dane’s revived form puts him very much in the mix for a third Ryder Cup cap as a player, a full decade after his last appearance. Also hoping to impress the watching 2012 European Captain José Maria Olazábal, who tees up at Celtic Manor for the first time at this month’s ISPS Handa Wales Open, is another late entrant, Simon Dyson.

Dyson, the World No 40, recorded two victories in the second half of 2011 at the Irish and KLM Opens and will be hoping to renew his challenge for a Ryder Cup debut this summer.

Colin Montgomerie, the victorious Ryder Cup captain at Celtic Manor, tees up in his 10th consecutive Wales Open and another of his Vice-Captains, Paul McGinley, the tournament winner in 2001, joins Bjorn and Olazábal in the field.

Ryder Cup team-mates of Jiménez competing for the £300,000 first prize are Ross Fisher, Edoardo Molinari and Francesco Molinari, a winner already this month at the Reale Seguros Open de Espana.

Other tournament winners of the past 12 months teeing up in the ISPS Handa Wales Open include Paul Lawrie, Robert Rock, Thomas Levet, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Michael Hoey, Tom Lewis, Oliver Fisher, Pablo Larrazábal and defending champion Alexander Noren.

ISPS Handa Wales Open tournament director Dylan Matthews said: “It’s always a real pleasure to welcome back so many of our former champions and the stars of The European Tour.

“We look forward to seeing the return of many of the heroes of the Ryder Cup here at Celtic Manor and I’m sure many of the contenders for this year’s team will be eager to impress the new European Captain, José Maria Olazábal.

“We are also delighted to welcome a new title sponsor for the next three years and I’m confident that the ISPS Handa Wales Open will continue to go from strength to strength.”

As well as top-class golfing action, the tournament offers a great day out for all the family with a tented village including bar, food outlets, shops selling golf merchandise and opportunities for youngsters to try their hand at golf.

ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) was founded by Japanese philanthropist, Dr Haruhisa Handa, in 2006 and has fostered partnerships with golf governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level and promote blind and disabled golf.

For tickets and further information, visit ispshandawalesopen.com

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