Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s Cazoo Open taking place at the TwentyTen Course at the Celtic Manor Resort.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
Cazoo Open (Wales Open)
TwentyTen Course, Celtic Manor Resort, Wales
Sour Stenson bites back at naysayers
This felt like a real gut-punch of a weekend for the DP World Tour. Sure, Sean Crocker’s victory in Scotland had plenty of thrills and spills (he had to withhold a charging Eddie Pepperell to win the title).
One of my picks- David Law- finished just two shots back in an admittedly exciting Sunday finish. But Henrik Stenson’s victory in Bedminster completely overshadowed those rather quaint proceedings.
Stenson picked up his first worldwide victory in three years at the Trump circus in Bedminster. It was quite a jolt following his decision to relinquish the Ryder Cup captaincy and take the LIV cash.
He took a jab at his naysayers in the immediate aftermath, stating that he played like a captain out there. I think it made him look slightly petty.
Perhaps these 48 players, non-cut events are the only ones that Stenson is still capable of winning. But it still felt like a symbolic blow to the future of this new DP World Tour venture.
Cazoo (Wales) Open
The DP World Tour will be in its sixth week of the ‘British Isle Summer Swing’. With tournaments already staged in Ireland, Scotland and England- the tour will venture to Wales and the iconic TwentyTen Course.
The TwentyTen course at Celtic Manor played host to the 2010 Ryder Cup. The event famously went to the final match, with Graeme McDowell holding off Hunter Mahan to win an extremely tight battle.
Celtic Manor Resort has hosted every edition of this event since its inception in 2000 (though the TwentyTen course itself was only opened in 2008). It was played annually between 2000 and 2014 at Celtic Manor Resort as part of a 15-year deal that included the staging of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The event was discontinued from 2015 to 2019 but returned to the tour in 2020 due to the reconfigurations forced by the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the 2nd successive year this event will be supported by Welsh superstar Gareth Bale.
The TwentyTen Course
The TwentyTen Course was designed by Ross McMurray and opened in 2008. It is a meaty par 71 that measures nearly 7,400 yards. Distance off the tee will obviously carry some weight this week (as evidenced by Sam Horsfield’s victory at the 2020 Cazoo Challenge).
But looking back at the 2020 Cazoo Challenge and the nine editions of the Cazoo Open staged here, accuracy from the fairway has generally proven to be the most crucial stat around the TwentyTen course.
Players will also need to scramble well around these intricate green complexes. There are plenty of runoff areas around the greens that give it a links-type feel. Due to the fact that this course was specifically designed for match-play, there are quite a few risk-reward style holes out there.
That means that there are some really ugly scores awaiting any truly errant shots. I would look for guys with good course management and impeccable short games.
There is once again another pretty poor field for this week’s Cazoo Open. Keith Pelley and those other higherups need to find a way to make these regular DP World Tour events more attractive.
The hyper-consistent Jordan Smith leads the markets at 14/1. Perennial underachiever Thomas Detry is just behind him. This week also features the next chapter in Thorbjorn Olesen’s image rehabilitation.
The former Ryder Cupper could flourish on this exacting test of golf. Elsewhere, the likes of Crocker, Pepperrell and Law will be looking to follow up their strong performances in Scotland last week.
2021: Nacho Elvira (-16) *playoff (as Cazoo Open)
2020: Romain Langasque (-8) (as ISPS Handa Wales Open)
2015-2019: no event held
2014: Joost Luiten (-14)
2013: Gregory Bourdy (-8)
To Win Outright:
Jordan Smith 14/1 | Thomas Detry 16/1 | Callum Shinkwin 20/1 | Thorbjorn Olsen 25/1 | Hurly Long 28/1
Jens Dantorp- To Win 33/1 | To Place 7/1
It’s pretty clear that the DP World Tour is severely lacking in depth at the moment. This does provide players with the chance to make a leap from the Challenge Tour. Jens Dantorp has finished inside the top 10 in five of his last six Challenge events. He finished in a tie for eighth at the recent Cazoo Classic and he was T5 at last week’s Hero Open.
Richard Mansell- To Win 45/1 | To Place 19/2
Mansell is a supreme driver who could thrive on this test. He was 32nd on his Celtic Manor debut last year and he has improved immeasurably since then. The man from Staffordshire really hit his stride earlier this year: finishing 8th at the British Masters, ninth at the Dutch Open and third at the European Open. He missed the cut last week but that should leave him refreshed going into this tournament.
The Man to Beat- Eddie Pepperell- To Win 33/1 | To Place 7/1
Eddie Pepperell- a player who was once painfully close to Ryder Cup selection- seemed to almost disappear over the last few years. Pepperrell is a two-time DP World Tour winner, claiming the Qatar Masters and British Masters in 2018. So, he has shown the propensity to perform well on British soil. He also comes into this event in excellent form, shooting a final round of 7-under last week to finish to finish solo 2nd at Fairmont St Andrews. When he is at his best, Pepperell is a short-game wizard who could thrive on these tricky greens.