IAN Woosnam was reunited with some old friends when he returned to Celtic Manor for the SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open.

Woosnam was the touring professional attached to Celtic Manor in 1995 when it opened its first golf course - the Roman Road which will stage this week's European Senior Tour event.

The tournament will bring back many memories for Woosnam who 10 years ago made a good charge at the Wales Open on the Roman Road before settling for joint fifth behind eventual winner Miguel Angel Jiménez. And he was presented with a vivid reminder of his past connections with Celtic Manor when he was shown a set of old golf clubs that he had left behind 20 years ago.

The clubs were unearthed during a recent clearout at the Ryder Cup venue's Golf Academy. Among the set was the same persimmon driver which Woosnam used to blast his final drive over the bunkers en route to winning the 1991 Masters Tournament.

"That's amazing," said Woosnam as he gave the old driver his familiar waggle on the first tee of Thursday's pro-am event for the SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open.

"Look at the size of the head on the driver. I think the 2-iron's got a bigger face. Put some new grips on these and I could use them this week!" he joked.

Woosnam is desperately hoping for success in front of his home crowd.“I’ve had some good success in Wales but also some disappointments. However this is a course I know reasonably well and I’m looking forward to this week. I just hope I have enough energy to carry me through the weekend. I just flew back from the States after playing in the Senior PGA Championship and the travelling takes a bit out of you,” he said.

“It was great to get invitations to play in America and now that I won my first Champions Tour event a few weeks ago it’s great to be able to change my schedule all of a sudden and to play wherever I want for the next year or so.

“It’s hard work, though. You have to play in 3 pro-ams then three days of the tournament, so it’s a six day week with the travelling thrown in.

“I was disappointed with my finish in the Senior PGA last week. I shot a good round of 68 in the third round but only really hit one bad shot in the final round which went in the wrong spot and I struggled. It was that sort of course that could jump up and bite you.

“It’s great to be back in Wales and that SSE are here as title sponsor. They’ve sponsored the Scottish Senior Open for a few years and were talking about going this event. It’s nice that SSE Enterprises have done just that. It means such a lot to us and I hope the people come out, the sun shines and we get the level of support we like to see at tournaments. It’s always reasonably priced and there are a lot of talented guys playing out here.

“For me, it is always great to play in front of home fans and to see so many old friends which I don’t get to see so often these days. I will be trying my best to entertain them at Celtic Manor! I have to go back to 1983 at St Pierre for my last win in Wales and there have been some disappointments and close calls since then. Hopefully I can do it this week.”

Tickets are available on the gate for tournament days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, priced £15 (single day) and £35 (season) for adults. Children under-16 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.