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Ryder Cup Team shaping up

With just four months to go until The 2010 Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie’s European Team is quietly taking shape.

Roddy Williams, European Tour Editorial Staff

With just four months to go until The 2010 Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie’s European Team is quietly taking shape with Race to Dubai winner Lee Westwood leading a mixture of experience and rookies occupying the current nine positions.

The Celtic Manor Wales Open marks the final dress rehearsal over the Twenty Ten Course before The Ryder Cup itself in October, and those contenders on the periphery of Montgomerie’s Team will be hoping to use the tournament to stake their claims.

The BMW PGA Championship, The European Tour’s flagship event, offered the opportunity to take stock and as the dust settled on a thrilling week at Wentworth Club, Westwood, who is hoping to be part of his seventh consecutive Ryder Cup, was the man in pole position in the qualification race, leading both the World Points List and the European Points List.

The Englishman has carried forward the form he showed in winning the Dubai World Championship last November by finishing runner up in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters Tournament this season.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the man he edged out in The 2009 Race to Dubai, was just behind him in the World Points List following his stunning victory in the Quail Hollow Championship, while Ian Poulter’s success  on American soil in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship placed two Englishmen in the top three positions.

Three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington completed the four qualifiers from the World Points List, with McIlroy the only rookie out of the three. However, four of the five berths from the European Points List would be Ryder Cup newcomers.

Ross McGowan, who was runner up to Westwood in the Dubai World Championship, led the way followed by Abu Dhabi Golf Championship winner Martin Kaymer, who had a taste of The Ryder Cup in Valhalla two years ago when Sir Nick Faldo invited him to join the Team in America to gain some experience.

England’s Simon Dyson, winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last October, and Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, the Open de España champion, also occupied the qualification positions, with Paul Casey, who received a Captain’s Pick along with Poulter two years ago, in the final spot.

Just outside the qualification positions were Edoardo Molinari and Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca winner Peter Hanson, while Simon Khan’s victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club moved him up to 12th on the European Points List.

A number of players with Ryder Cup experience are also in the top 20 and looking to take one of the nine automatic qualifying spots, including Oliver Wilson (13th), who made his debut in Valhalla, Miguel Angel Jiménez (15th), Sergio Garcia (17th) and Luke Donald (20th), who strengthened his claims by finishing joint runner up at Wentworth Club.

Including The Celtic Manor Wales Open, there are 14 events left on The European Tour International Schedule in which to seal an automatic qualification spot in the European Team. Montgomerie will then announce his three Captains picks – one more than Faldo had two years ago – at the conclusion of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

With plenty of Ryder Cup points still to play for, there are set to be several more twists and turns before Europe’s 38th Ryder Cup Team is confirmed.

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