Poulter Primed for Title Defense


After a thrilling finish to the Volvo PGA Championship in England, the European Tour heads west into Wales for the fifth edition of the Celtic Manor Wales Open.
Site of the 2010 Ryder Cup matches, the beautiful Celtic Manor Resort will play host to defending champion Ian Poulter as well as some of the host country's top stars in Ian Woosnam, Philip Price and Bradley Dredge.
Colin Montgomerie, fresh off a tie for 47th at the Volvo PGA, will also be on hand as he attempts to claim one of the few trophies he has not won in his glorious European Tour career.
Filling out the field in Wales is Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie.
Lawrie has found great success at this event counting his victory here in 2002 and a tough playoff loss to Paul McGinley the previous year.
For Poulter and Casey, both hope to be at the top of their games as each are trying to secure their spots on this years European Ryder Cup squad. Currently sitting in the 10th and 7th positions on the points list, it would be both players first Ryder Cup team.
Poulter, whose victory here last season was one of his two titles of the year, hopes to keep his streak alive in which he has won at least one tournament a season, a streak that dates back to 1999. He has three top 10s this year and sits in the 15th spot on the tour's Order of Merit (money list).
Woosnam, the 1991 Master champion, looks to notch his first win since the 2001 Cisco World Match Play Championship. His last official European Tour victory came almost seven years ago at the aforementioned Volvo PGA Championship.
Price was one of the European Ryder Cup heros in 2002, as he beat the world No. 2 Phil Mickelson in the singles matches to claim a crucial point for the European team. It will be his fourth appearance at the course where he holds an honorary membership.
As for Westwood, the 32-year-old Englishman is in search of his first victory of the season after last year's two win campaign. After falling off the golfing map for several years, Westwood came back to form in 2003 with victories at the Dunhill Links Championship and the BMW International Open. He best finish thus far in 2004 is a tie for 6th at the dunhill championship in January.
Related links:
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  • Full Coverage - Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open