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Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor, Jaidee Wins

Thongchai Jaidee  (Getty Images) Thongchai Jaidee (Getty Images)

Thongchai Jaidee won the Handa Wales Open at a wet and windy Celtic Manor to claim his first European Tour win on European soil, all four of his previous victories on his home continent. Thongchai’s last round 72 gave him a tournament total of -6 under par, to win by one shot from Thomas Bjorn, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, Joost Luiten and Richard Sterne, who all finished at -5 under par.

Thongchai was really pleased with his win. albeit with rules officials assistance;

” I want to say thank you to all my family, all the supporters and the sponsors here. Conditions were quite tough for me. I tried to hit everything on the fairway, that’s the main thing, then hit the ball on the green. It was very, very tough for me, not like Thailand!”

 Ross Fisher finished at -4 under par and left with far less happy memories this time after being penalised a shot for slow play when one off the lead. Ross  fell foul of European Tour rules when he took too long over shots at the 11th and 14th holes, exceeding the allocated 40 seconds on both occasions. By comparison, Joost Luiten was told to speed up, but no penalty stroke awarded. Would be interesting if they used this 40 second rule on the USPGA Tour, the amount of time some of those players take, they could be in danger of losing a few players at each tournament.

So golf is now another one of those sports where the winner is decided by officials, rather than the team or player who actually performs better but just gets a contentious call from officialdom. Are all the officials on the course presented with a stop watch at the start of play everyday ?

Ross commented after the tournament;

” I don’t think it’s justice, but there you go.”

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor,Thongnchai Jaidee leads by one.

Thongchai Jaidee  (Getty Images)

Thongchai Jaidee (Getty Images)

Thongchai Jaidee has given himself an opportunity to register his first victory on European soil as a third round -4 under par,67  in the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor puts him in the lead at  the top of the leader board. The Thai golfer now has an advantage in the ISPS Handa Wales Open,  over second round leader Ross Fisher, who could only muster a par third round and also Joost Luiten. Joost had an amazing third round of -7 under par 64, which propelled him up the leader board into tied for second place.

Thongchai is excited by the opportunity to win in on European soil for the first time;

 I’ve won a lot of times in Asia and I’ve played well a lot of times in Asia. In Europe, it’s very important for me to do well because the weather is going to be very difficult for me. I’ve learned a lot of things, how to play with these conditions. I think this time it’s a very good chance. You never know how it’s going to be tomorrow, but I’ll try to give it my best and look forward. If I keep my game plan like this, I have a good chance. I’ll play my own game, the best thing to do is to hit fairways, hit the greens and putt well. That’s my key tomorrow.”

The 42-year-old Thongchai birdied the par five 18th after an incredible drive measured at 410 yards,and then only needed a seven iron second to the 575 yard hole. He unfortunately pushed it into a bunker, but made a 12 foot putt for the outright lead.

 He was pleasantly surprised with the drive;

“I think 320 is the longest for me, so when we got to the top of the hill I asked ‘where’s the ball?’ and a marshal told me. I thought it was 390, but 410 sounds better.” He

Ross Fisher stubbed his toe in his hotel room on Friday night;

“There were a few expletives and it was extremely painful. I couldn’t put any weight on it and half-contemplated playing in trainers.
One of the toes is as purple as anything. I iced it and two of the toes were strapped together, but I hit it everywhere and I’m glad to finish. It would mean a lot to win. I set very high standards and I reached 17th in the world, so I know I have the game. “

“Given where I hit it that’s one of the best level par rounds I’ve ever had. I hung in there and dug deep.

Dutchman, Tim Sluiter is another shot further back after his third round score of  -3 under par, 68, and is alone with a tournament total of -5 under par.

Germany’s Marcel Siem has made a remarkable recovery from yesterday’s poor round, to shoot a third round -5 under par 66, which has put him in good position to maybe have a say in the outcome of this tournament tomorrow.

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor, Ross Fisher Leads after 2nd round.

Ross Fisher  (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher (Getty Images)

Ross Fisher of England shot a -5 under par, 66, to lead the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor by two strokes from yesterday’s first round leader Lee Slattery. Lee had an ordinary second round of just par following his 66 yesterday, while Marcel Siem had an awful +4 over par, 75 after his good start in the first round with a 68.

Ross likes this course, he said in interview;

“It’s always nice to come back to good hunting ground, familiar turf. The Ryder Cup was a great experience, I played really well that week and enjoyed it. There are certain spots that you think, yeah, the pin was there in The Ryder Cup, or I hit it here and holed this putt, or hit that shot from here.  You do try and remember those memories, and feed them into a positive outcome for this week.  I have some fond memories and I’ve had some decent results here, but it’s a course that I feel should suit me.

He explained about his shot into the par three third;

” I hit a nice six iron below the hole to about 12 feet, 15 feet and made that. I actually felt like I was going to hole that because I think either I had that putt or Poults had that in The Ryder Cup, so I knew exactly where I was going to hit it. There was no way I was missing that one.”

Lee Slattery had an eagle on the eleventh hole, which helped him recover from a wobbly start to the second round;

“I think the eagle on 11 was  the turning point in the round. The swing certainly didn’t feel as good as yesterday. I hit a lot of shots left but just managed to bounce back well.”

Ross is now at -6 under par for the tournament, with Lee Slattery at -4. Still in the hunt are three players on -3 under par, the are; Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay, Jaidee Thongchai from Thailand and England’s Chris Wood. Another name in the frame after the first round Tim Sluiter from the Netherlands also had a poor second round, a +1 over par effort that leaves him with a tournament score of -2 under par.

Dutchman Tim Sluiter remained upbeat despite bogeying three of his last five holes.

“On this course, anything around par is a good score. I’m very pleased where I am, and I kept myself in it.”

Handa Wales Open @ Celtic Manor, Lee Slattery leads after 1st Round

Lee Slattery leads the Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor after his opening round -4 under par ,67 on this par 71 layout in Wales. He leads by just one shot from Germany’s Marcel Siem and Tim Sluiter of the Netherlands. Marcel is the only German in the field this week and after a good start is in position to contend for the title. Strangely enough a Welshman has never won his National title, although they usually figure strongly in the event.

Alex Noren is bidding to make history by becoming the first player to successfully defend the ISPS Handa Wales Open, but at +10 for his opening round it is pretty safe to say he will not be around at the weekend.

Lee Slattery  (Getty Images)

Lee Slattery (Getty Images)

The thirty-three year old Lee Slattery’s performance comes just three days after shooting 66 at Walton Heath to earn himself a US Open Championship debut. Today he had only one dropped shot, but nobody got round unscathed, Lee  spoke of his day;

 “It was very difficult. The wind was stronger than anticipated and if you get round without a bogey it’s an amazing achievement.”

Lee is planning for a trip to San Francisco for the US Open;

I know Olympic Club is going to be difficult, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s more the atmosphere. I remember The Open at Hoylake (his only previous Major was there in 2006) and I thrived on it.”

In-form German Marcel Siem,  who has already had five top-12 finishes this season and was in the lead going into the final round here two years ago, said:

“It was gusty, windy and there were firm greens, so three under was good.  It’s really nice to play out here. I love the course and I’ve had a lot of very good rounds here already. The greens are firm, which suits my high ball flight. You have to think a bit more around the course now because it’s a lot firmer and the traps are in play all of a sudden.”

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