DEFENDING champion Alexander Noren qualified for the US Open on Monday, just as he did a year ago before his stunning victory performance at the ISPS Wales Open.

Like 12 months ago Noren made the cut at Walton Heath and believes the impetus is with him to pick up a second successive title at Newport’s Celtic Manor.

“I was so pleased to get into the US Open, it was pretty much exactly the same as how it happened last year,” he said.

“Last year I went into this week on a high because of qualifying and it just went on from there. So a repeat of last year is the plan, that would be nice!”

Noren is obviously at home at the Celtic Manor and admits the Twenty Ten course suits his game down to the ground.

“It suits my eye, I like the long, big courses where if you drive well you’ve got a big chance, this is one of them,” he explained.

“Last year the key for me was the driving. If you can hit the fairways you can win because this is a tough course. A couple under par every day is good enough.

“I don’t feel extra pressure coming back as the defending champion, it’s more just nice to be back with all of the memories.”

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, one of four members of the victorious European Ryder Cup side to return for the Wales Open, insists it is a tournament he will continue to support.

“I never miss this tournament,” he said. “I played for the first time here in 2005 and I won so I’m always coming to play here.

“It’s a nice resort, it’s a nice golf course.

“The course is in superb condition and if the weather stays dry I think we’ll have a nice week!”

Jimenez is already enjoying the trip down memory lane in regards to the incredible 2010 Ryder Cup.

“When you are walking the fairways you think of shots you played, it was such a fantastic time... it’s nice to be back.”