The chase to qualify for the European Ryder Cup team continues to heat up following Alexander Björk’s maiden European Tour victory at the Volvo China Open.
It has been a strong two weeks for the Swede, who rode the momentum of a tied third finish in at the Trophée Hassan II all the way to Beijing. His 18 under par winning total saw him move to 15th place on the European Points list and 16th on the World Points list.
The top four from each list automatically qualify for the team, and, with the point value increase less than a month away, players on the bubble are hungry to stay within touching distance of the qualification spots.
Starting the week of the BMW PGA Championship, May 24-27, points earned on both lists will be multiplied by 1.5, through the Made in Denmark, so that form players receive additional value leading into the biennial competition.
While Captain Thomas Bjørn retains four wild card selections to bolster his team at the end of qualification, he is surely hoping that a number of Ryder Cup veterans will play their way onto the team via the points lists.
Currently, England’s Ross Fisher, who played in the 2010 Ryder Cup, maintains a narrow advantage over fellow countryman and 2016 Ryder Cup rookie Matthew Fitzpatrick for the last spot on the European Points list. Surging Irishman Paul Dunne is nipping at his heels in seventh, and recent Trophée Hassan II winner Alex Levy sits in ninth place.
Levy has raced up the European Points list in 2018. In only seven starts, he has recorded four top tens—including three top fives and a win—to move from 29th to ninth since the New Year. If the Frenchman carries this form through the impending point increase he may find himself teeing it up on home soil at Le Golf National in September.
The eight players currently sitting in an automatic qualification position are Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose, Ross Fisher and Tommy Fleetwood, the Spanish duo of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, as well as Swede Alex Noren and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.