Players struggle at Celtic Manor

The highest cut of the European Tour season so far was on the cards as Celtic Manor once again presented a tough challenge today.

The highest cut of the European Tour season so far was on the cards as Celtic Manor once again presented a tough challenge today.

More than 20 players failed to break 80 in the opening round of the ISPS Handa Wales Open and if the scoring was repeated on day two the cut would fall at eight over par – three more than in The Masters at Augusta in April.

Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, still with a chance of climbing into the world’s top 60 in time for the US Open in a fortnight, resumed in joint fourth place on two under, but bogeyed three of his first four holes.

Dutchman Tim Sluiter, one behind overnight leader Lee Slattery, dropped a shot at the first to leave German Marcel Siem alone in second place. Slattery and Siem were among the later starters in the second round.

There were those going well, though. South African Jaco Van Zyl had three birdies in the first seven holes to climb into a share of third spot, while France’s Raphael Jacquelin picked up four strokes in his opening six holes and leapt from 76th to tied 21st on one over.

Four of the victorious 2010 Ryder Cup side on the course were in morning action. England’s Ross Fisher set off again with a bogey six to be level par, Italian Francesco Molinari was three over, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez five over and Molinari’s brother Edoardo six over.

Five players had pulled out on the first day with a variety of complaints - back injuries, tonsillitis, ankle and in Gary Boyd's case sickness and dizziness after handing in an 88 that included two sextuple bogey 10s - and Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen joined them after covering the first four holes in four over to be 13 over. He cited lower back trouble.

Sluiter returned to three under after a birdie at the fourth, however, and Ireland’s Simon Thornton moved alongside him and Siem with an opening birdie.

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