European Ryder Cup points update: Soren Kjeldsen now ninth
Another top finish by Soren Kjeldsen at the Open de Espana, coupled with his top-10 finish at the Masters, has vaulted the Dane into eighth place on the European Points List and ninth on the World Points List, edging Thomas Pieters for the final guaranteed spot on the European Team for this fall's Ryder Cup match play at Hazeltine National Golf Course.
Sergio Garcia finished third in the tournament sponsored by his foundation and cemented his hold on eighth place on the World Points List. Winner Andrew Johnston made a huge leap in the standings, passing Garcia on the European Points List and jumping into 26th position on the World Points List.
Thanks to his win at the Masters, Danny Willett holds a commanding lead in the European Points List, followed by Rory McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan. The top four positions are automatically guaranteed a Ryder Cup berth.
The next five positions from the World Points List then fill out the nine automatic qualifiers. That includes Henrik Stenson -- second on the list behind Willett -- Justin Rose, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Garcia and Kjeldsen. However, Pieters is just .64 points behind Kjeldsen, and Lee Westwood, Thorbjorn Olesen and Chris Wood are all within striking distance as well.
European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke will choose the remaining three members of the squad during the last week of August.
Here's a look at the top 12 in both lists, following the Open de Espana (Ryder Cup qualifiers in bold):
Through April 17
European Points List
Danny WILLETT 3,630,894.20
Rory MCILROY 2,849,657.14
Matthew FITZPATRICK 1,902,086.74
Andy SULLIVAN 1,853,093.55
Victor DUBUISSON 1,641,925.74
Rafa CABRERA BELLO 1,593,331.74
Chris WOOD 1,527,750.74
Soren KJELDSEN 1,516,493.71
Henrik STENSON 1,469,073.36
Kristoffer BROBERG 1,408,969.76
Thorbjorn OLESEN 1,293,773.03
Thomas PIETERS 1,134,918.82
World Points List
Danny WILLETT 237.14
Henrik STENSON 219.44
Rory MCILROY 190.68
Justin ROSE 134.14
Rafa CABRERA BELLO 127.17
Matthew FITZPATRICK 115.05
Andy SULLIVAN 108.99
Sergio GARCIA 108.20
Soren KJELDSEN 87.74
Thomas PIETERS 87.10
Lee WESTWOOD 84.62
Thorbjorn OLESEN 83.72
Here are key dates in the European Ryder Cup qualifying process:
August 28, 2016: The leading four active European Tour Members on The Ryder Cup European Points List on this date or the end of the Made in Denmark Tournament, whichever ends later. In the event of a tie between Members (i.e. a number of Members having accumulated an equal number of points), placings will be decided by the Member with the higher ranking on the 2016 Race to Dubai Rankings;
August 28, 2016: The next leading five active European Tour Members on The Ryder Cup World Points List on this date or the end of the Made in Denmark Tournament, whichever ends later. In the event of a tie between Members (i.e. a number of Members having accumulated an equal number of points), placings will be decided by the Member with the higher ranking on the Official World Golf Ranking at that point.
August 29, 2016: The Captain, Darren Clarke, will choose (at his own discretion) the remaining three Members in the week commencing on that date.