Dredge to emulate Harrington

By Brian Keogh

Welsh wizard Bradley Dredge can emulate Padraig Harrington and win his home open this week.

Beaten by the Dubliner in a play-off for the Irish Open two weeks ago, the Welshman has all the talent necessary to life the Celtic Manor Wales Open this week.

That's the view of 1982 Irish Open winner John O'Leary, who sees remarkable similarities between Dredge and the Dubliner.

After watching him at Adare Manor, O'Leary said: "If you look at Bradley, he is very similar to Padraig.

"Padraig has worked and worked, done one thing, put that in his locker, moved on, found another secret and worked hard and put that in his locker.

"Bradley is very similar to Padraig in that sense. When I first saw him, he was very closed at the top. He is not that way any more. Technically he is a much better player.

"What odds would you give me against him making the next Ryder Cup team? If you got even money I think you would have a good bet. He has just developed and developed."

While Harrington, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke are resting this week, Ireland will have five men in action in Wales with club pro Simon Thornton joining Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy and Graeme McDowell on the Roman Road course.

All eyes will be on star attractions Retief Goosen, Colin Montgomerie, Michael Campbell and defending champion Robert Karlsson.

But there will also be some attention for England's Phillip Archer, who missed a seven footer on the 18th last year to become the first man to shoot a 59 on the European Tour.

No player has managed to break 60 in a European Tour event and with the Wales Open moving from the Roman Road to the Ryder Cup course next season, they may never get a better chance.

Archer recalled: "I came really close, yet in the papers the next day it was as if I had done something wrong.

"I couldn't get my head round that - I broke the course record by two, played great and had a seven-footer for a 59."

The Warrington golfer became the 12th player to shoot 60 on the circuit with Darren Clarke the only one to do it twice.

Archer could not do better than 67 in the next three rounds and finished fifth behind Swede Karlsson.

One player who will not be in action in his homeland is last year's European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, who is still suffering from the viral infection which ruled him out of Wentworth.

Woosie said: "Obviously, I am very disappointed to miss out on playing in my national open as there is nothing better than playing in front of your own spectators. But health issues take precedence."