Wales Open 2013: Dark Horses Worth Backing for Celtic Manor Success

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Wales Open 2013: Dark Horses Worth Backing for Celtic Manor Success
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Officially beginning of Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup auditions, some of the world’s best golfing talents once again descend upon Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, the scene of the 2010 competition, with a view to impress.

Paul McGinley, captain of next year’s European team, will be deciding just who makes the cut from here on out, with the 2013 Wales Open the first stop along the way.

Although the usual favourites are preparing to have their say on matters, it’s the underdogs who have that little bit more to prove, with a few particular candidates standing out as potential challengers this week.

All odds come courtesy of William Hill.

What: 2013 Wales Open

When: Thursday, Aug. 29 – Sunday, Sept. 1

Where: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales

Watch: Sky Sports 1 (HD)

Stream: SkyGo (Subscription required)

Darren Clarke

Tee Time: 1:15 p.m. BST/8:15 a.m. ET

Having only featured in 10 tournaments so far this year, it’s no surprise that Darren Clarke finds himself as far down the European rankings as 121st, but the veteran nonetheless has the potential to spring a surprise this week.

Currently being valued at a price of 25-1 for this weekend’s event, there’s the potential to make money off the Northern Irishman should he manage to revive some of his better form.

Clarke’s finish of tied-21st at this year’s Open Championship is the best he’s managed in 2013, but with a Ryder Cup spot now on the line, he’ll be all the more interested in his tour involvement.

The last time Clarke competed at the Wales Open came back in 2011—the same year that he managed to win the Open Championship—and the 45-year-old will be less of a stranger to the conditions that are set to play host.

Thongchai Jaidee

Tee Time: 1:15 p.m. BST/8:15 a.m. ET

The reigning champion of the Wales Open returns this year as a slight outsider, having been pitched down the stakes at odds of 8-1.

However, Thongchai Jaidee will seek to become the first player ever to win back-to-back titles in the now 13-year-old competition.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

At Celtic Manor last year, the Thai sensation finished with a score of six-under, never finishing a round over par and maintaining a consistently strong standard of golf, particularly in his middle rounds (68 and 67).

Although runs such as this don’t always go particularly well for reigning champions, Jaidee will look to reverse that trend on a course he’s already proven he's accustomed to.

Scott Henry

Tee Time: 7:15 a.m. BST/2:15 a.m. ET

Having tied for fourth at the Johnnie Walker Championship earlier this week, Scott Henry earned his best European Tour finish of the year and his largest prize money as a result.

Warren Little/Getty Images

That performance puts the Scotsman in great form for his trip down to Newport later this week, where Henry competes in his first-ever Wales Open.

Currently priced at 20-1 and coming off the biggest result of his career so far, Henry looks to be a decent bet as the 26-year-old is sure to have a nothing-to-lose attitude as he continues his rise through the European Tour ranks.

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