MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Welsh golf is back with a bang

First published in Sport by

IT might have taken half a decade off for reasons unknown, but Welsh golf is back.

That’s a somewhat simplistic and frankly, insulting way to look at things, but Welsh golf fans will doubtless be nodding in agreement after an absolutely wonderful weekend for the sport in the principality.

In case you missed the news, Wales completed a phenomenal one, two; finish on the European Tour this weekend with Jamie Donaldson victorious in the Czech Open and Blackwood’s Bradley Dredge finishing second as the duo both secured their exact objectives.

Donaldson needed a top seven finish to book his place officially on the 2014 European Ryder Cup team and his victory secured that with room to spare.

Donaldson becomes the first Welshman since Philip Price, 13-years ago, to seal a spot in the European 12.

It’s a just reward for a player who has shown exceptional form for the past two years and whose efforts in all four major championships this year have been highly commendable.

However, it’s hard not to be even more excited for Dredge, a man who really has been through the wringer since losing his European Tour card.

Dredge slipped off the radar in 2012 when he failed to land his card for the 14th successive season by a matter of a few hundred quid and he’s had a torrid time since, barely making a cut on the regional circuit and failing to reclaim his card at Qualifying School.

However, a medical exemption this summer has proved transformative, Dredge earning almost 300,000 Euros in seven days to guarantee full playing privileges next season and it is a safe bet that he’ll contend for victory again in the coming month, so well is he striking the ball and putting.

That’s a giant boost for Welsh golf as only Donaldson represented the nation on tour this season, though he’s done so with tremendous distinction finishing in the top two four times in 18 months.

He now achieves the ambition of any European golfer to lift up a club in achieving qualification for the Ryder Cup and does so in a year where the competition for places is probably as fierce as it has ever been, a fact borne out by the fact Paul McGinley’s wildcard picks will in all likelihood be Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald.

That is why it truly was a wonderful weekend to be a Welsh golf fan.

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