Big guns meet early in Majorca

12/05/2010 14:04:06
Three of the Official World Golf Ranking's top 100 will face each other in the opening two rounds when The European Tour visits Majorca this week.

Bristol's Chris Wood, fifth and third in the last two Open Championships and last season's Rookie of the Year, plays with Ryder Cup Dane Søren Hansen and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.

Just behind them is Swede Peter Hanson and all four will be looking at the Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca at Pula as a golden opportunity to register their first win of the year.

For Wood, third in the BMW Italian Open on Sunday, it would also be a first victory of his professional career.

The 22 year old made his name as an amateur at Royal Birkdale two years ago and then at Turnberry last July missed out on the play-off by only one shot after bogeying the last hole like Lee Westwood.

He further stood out - at six foot five inches that is not difficult - when he was unbeaten in Great Britain and Ireland's victory over Continental Europe at the Vivendi Trophy presented by Seve Ballesteros in Paris.

That performance came in front of Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie and on the possibility of being part of his line-up at The Celtic Manor Resort Wood said: "It would be amazing, but there are probably 40 players have got that in the back of their minds.

"At the moment I'm not seeing myself as one of the top 12 in Europe. The team looks so strong already. A big win could change all that, of course."

This week there are €800,000 on offer, and it could do wonders for Wood's confidence.

Hansen, the top-ranked player in the field, plays for the first time since The Masters Tournament over a month ago.

Many of The European Tour's rookies will see this week as a chance to make their mark and there are others looking to get back in the headlines.

Paul McGinley has yet to record a top 40 finish in the four events he has played since another knee operation late last year, while Kenneth Ferrie's five-year exemption for winning the European Open  expires this season and he has so far missed eight out of nine cuts.