Strong wind adds bite to opening round of Wales Open

In-form Scottish player Connor Syme and Englishman Jordan Smith shoot 66 to share the lead

Same course, but a different challenge. As the TwentyTen Course at Celtic Manor played host to back-to-back tournaments on the European Tour, the addition of strong wind made for a completely different challenge as in-form Scottish player Connor Syme and Englishman Jordan Smith shot five-under-par 66s to share the lead after the opening round of the ISPS Handa Wales Open.

For Sam Horsfield, winner of the Celtic Classic last Sunday and chasing a third win in four weeks since the resumption of play on the European circuit, it proved to be a rather more challenging experience as, having signed for four rounds in the 60s a week ago, he was battled to an opening round 73.

“It was playing tricky obviously with the wind,”said Syme. “We were thinking a little about how they might change the golf course but the wind has certainly done that for us, a completely different direction and a lot stronger.”

With scoring much tougher than it was in the Celtic Challenge with a stiffer wind, Jonathan Caldwell proved to be the best of the four Irish players in the field. The 36-year-old from Co Down signed for an opening round 72, one-over, that featured three birdies – at the 11th, 14th and 18th – along with four bogeys .


He twice rebounded from bogeys with birdies on the following holes in demonstrating his so-called “bouncebackability” to stay on course to make the cut.

Uphill fight

Cormac Sharvin opened with a 73 that was undone by a double-bogey on the 14th, while Paul Dunne's 74 and Gavin Moynihan's 77 put them in an uphill fight to survive the cut.

For Syme, still chasing his breakthrough win on the European Tour, and also with the prospect of breaking into the top-10 on the mini-order of the UK Swing to claim an exemption into next month's US Open at Winged Foot, it proved to be a positive opening round.

“You never know how you are going to handle it until you are in those situations and sleeping on a lead out here was obviously new. Winning on Challenge Tour definitely helped me. It’s about drawing on all the experiences and building that bank up as much as I can, and I guess today was another one of those.”

British and Irish unless stated,  par 71
Connor Syme, Jordan Smith
68 Kurt Kitayama (USA), Sebastian Soderberg (Swe), Robert Macintyre, Callum Shinkwin
69 Marcus Kinhult (Swe), Matthew Jordan, Ashley Chesters, Matthew Southgate, Thomas Pieters (Bel), Renato Paratore (Ita)
70 Justin Harding (Rsa), Sebastian Heisele (Ger), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Brandon Stone (Rsa), Marcel Siem (Ger), Daan Huizing (Ned), Martin Simonsen (Den), Aaron Rai, Jason Scrivener (Aus), Liam Johnston, David Dixon, Sami Valimaki (Fin), Louis De Jager (Rsa)
71 Ben Evans, David Law, Sihwan Kim (Kor), Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Oliver Fisher, Adrien Saddier (Fra), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Robert Rock, Laurie Canter, Adrian Otaegui (Esp), Nacho Elvira (Esp), Damien Perrier (Fra), Richard McEvoy, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Steven Tiley, Romain Langasque (Fra)
72 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Lorenzo Scalise (Ita), Clement Sordet (Fra), Oscar Lengden (Swe), Mathieu Fenasse (Fra), Chris Paisley, Lars Van Meijel (Ned), Haotong Li (Chn), Dean Burmester (Rsa), Jonathan Caldwell, Oliver Farr, Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Ewan Ferguson
73 Andrew Johnston, Adrian Meronk (Pol), Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez (Esp), Philip Eriksson (Swe), Carlos Pigem (Esp), Wil Besseling (Ned), Joachim B. Hansen (Den), Julian Suri (USA), Dale Whitnell, Alejandro Canizares Esp), Bryce Easton (Rsa), Daniel Young, Jack Senior, Calum Hill, Gavin Green (Mal), Aaron Cockerill (Can), John Catlin (USA), Adri Arnaus (Esp), Cormac Sharvin, Richie Ramsay, Michael Campbell (Nzl), Niklas Lemke (Swe), James Morrison, Sam Horsfield, Jake McLeod (Aus), Ross McGowan
74 Marcus Armitage, Ross Fisher, Benjamin Poke (Den), Emilio Cuartero Blanco (Esp), Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Paul Dunne, Eddie Pepperell, Nicolai Hojgaard (Den), Sean Crocker (USA), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Craig Howie, JC Ritchie (Rsa), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Guido Migliozzi (Ita), Matthew Baldwin, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Gregory Bourdy (Fra)
75 Rhys Enoch, Jorge Campillo (Esp), Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Grant Forrest, Francesco Laporta (Ita), Jeff Winther (Den), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Darius Van Driel (Ned), Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Justin Walters (Rsa), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Scott Vincent (Zim)
76 Andrea Pavan (Ita), Phillip Price, Hurly Long (Ger), Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Wilco Nienaber (Rsa)
77 Zach Murray (Aus), Nicolai Von Dellingshausen (Ger), Anton Karlsson (Swe), Alexander Bjork (Swe), Zander Lombard (Rsa), Tom Gandy (IOM), Gavin Moynihan, Stephen Gallacher, Min Woo Lee (Aus)
78 Oliver Wilson, Lee Slattery
79 Shiv Kapur (Ind)
80 Ugo Coussaud (Fra), Graeme Storm
82 Kristoffer Reitan (Nor)
83 Mark Pilkington

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times