Former Open champion Darren Clarke to star at Celtic Manor
2:43pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport
FORMER Open Champion Darren Clarke is among the late entries for the ISPS Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor next week.
Clarke, who won his first major championship at Royal St George's in 2011, tees up in Newport alongside a host of other Ryder Cup stars including Miguel Angel Jiménez, Francesco Molinari, Ross Fisher and José Maria Olazabal.
The popular Irishman was a vice-captain to Colin Montgomerie in Europe's thrilling Ryder Cup victory at Celtic Manor in 2010 after making five appearances in the match as a player. The first man after Tiger Woods to win two World Golf Championship events, Clarke has claimed 14 European Tour titles in all.
Other European Tour champions entered for the ISPS Handa Wales Open from August 29 – September 1 include Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen, Spanish quartet Alvaro Quiros, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Pablo Larrazábal, Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and England's Chris Wood, David Howell and Simon Dyson. Paul Casey has withdrawn.
Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee defends the ISPS Handa Wales Open title he won in testing conditions last year to claim his first victory on European soil and also part of a truly international field are Finland's Mikko Ilonen, Australian Brett Rumford, Austrian Bernd Weisberger, Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, Holland's Joost Luiten, American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Darren Fichardt.
The tournament marks the start of the points race for qualification for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and European captain Paul McGinley, himself a former champion at Celtic Manor, will be keeping a close eye on all the hopefuls teeing off their campaigns.
Celtic Manor Resort chief executive Dylan Matthews said: "It's always a real pleasure to welcome back so many star players of The European Tour.
"The ISPS Handa Wales Open has grown into one of the premier events on the European Tour international schedule and is also a highlight of the Welsh sporting summer.
"This tournament is a fantastic opportunity for golf fans to see some of the world's best players up close and enjoy a great value family day out."
With a prize fund of £1.8m, the ISPS Handa Wales Open is now in its 14th consecutive year at Celtic Manor.
For tickets and further information visit www.ispshandawalesopen.com or call 01633 410318.
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