Rain-lashed Celtic Manor passed its first major test

Sam Torrance
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WITH high winds and torrential rain expected in advance, the revamped Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor faced its first major test on hosting the Welsh Open this weekend.<br /><br />Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin both experienced the course first hand ahead of the 2010 event, and it has to be said the course held up pretty well in some dreadful conditions.<br /><br />Three inches of rain fell of the new &pound;16m course over the four days, at one point halting play for six hours on Saturday. But the water was nicely deposited to the six purpose-built lakes running through the Usk Valley so that&rsquo;s a job well done.<br /><br />Pavin did express concerns, however, about drainage in the bunkers, but I&rsquo;m sure that is something that will be addressed in plenty of time being next year&rsquo;s showpiece.<br /><br /><strong>SHOCK WINNER</strong><br />The course, however, was not the only winner come Sunday night as Dane Jeppe Huldahl became the third shock winner on the European Tour in four events.<br /><br />Amazingly, this is a guy who is without a top ten finish in 45 events spanning six years, but he held his nerve fantastically on the final day to record a 67 and edge out Niclas Fasth by a shot. The &pound;300,000 winner&rsquo;s cheque was 30 times bigger than previous best &ndash; he certainly won&rsquo;t be forgetting Celtic Manor in a hurry! <br /><br />But while Huldahl&rsquo;s win was a surprise, there were no such shocks across the water where the Tiger Woods bandwagon continued. Tiger came from four shots behind to fire a closing 65 and claim a record fourth win at the Memorial and 67th on the PGA Tour. It also announces a timely return to form &ndash; just two weeks before the start of the US Open.<br /><br />As for me, I&rsquo;m back in action this week at the Jersey Open, and I&rsquo;m looking for a high placing to improve on my overall standing. The course at La Moye is Ian Woosnam&rsquo;s home course and with Woosie winning the Irish Seniors at the weekend, I&rsquo;m going to need to play well.