JAMIE Donaldson will warm up for his first appearance in the Ryder Cup by spearheading the home challenge at the ISPS HANDA Wales Open at the Celtic Manor from September 18-21.
Donaldson cemented his place in Paul McGinley’s Europe team with a stunning victory at the D+D REAL Czech Masters on Sunday and will reacclimatise to autumnal British conditions at Celtic Manor before his Ryder Cup debut at Scotland’s Gleneagles Hotel the following week.
It was the Welshman’s third win on the European Tour and his third title in as many seasons after victories at the 2012 Irish Open and 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Now firmly established in the world’s top 30, Donaldson is the highest-ranked Welsh golfer since Ian Woosnam and becomes the first Ryder Cup player from Wales since Phillip Price defeated Phil Mickelson at The Belfry in 2002.
The ISPS HANDA Wales Open will provide a fitting warm-up for the match against the Americans as it takes place on the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor which staged the last Ryder Cup held in Europe in 2010.
Donaldson said: “I’m very excited to be playing again at the ISPS HANDA Wales Open and it’s always special to tee it up in your home championship. Hopefully I can continue my good form and make a strong challenge for the title. One thing’s for sure - I know I will be able to count on a lot of support for that week.
“It’s going to be the start of a very big two weeks for me with the Ryder Cup taking place at Gleneagles the very next week. I know Celtic Manor will provide the ideal tune-up for the course and conditions we are likely to face in Scotland.”
With the full playing field yet to be confirmed, a number of other Ryder Cup players are expected to complete their preparations for the big showdown in Wales.
Confirming its 15th consecutive year at the same venue, the ISPS HANDA Wales Open is one of the most established, premier events on The European Tour International Schedule.
With a prize fund of £1.8m, past winners include Ryder Cup stars Graeme McDowell, Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie and Paul McGinley, who will captain the European team at Gleneagles.
Frenchman Grégory Bourdy was the latest tournament winner in 2013 when he closed with three successive birdies to see off a strong challenge from American Peter Uihlein.
As well as top-class golfing action, the tournament always offers a great value 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.
The tournament will also showcase the work of ISPS which continues to expand and enhance its blind and disabled golf initiatives, showing that sport has the power to inspire, create hope and transform society.
For further information and tickets, visit www.ispshandawalesopen.com or call 01633 410318.