Fitzpatrick on the rise, Kaymer showing promising signs
Matthew Fitzpatrick continued his fine form of late by recording a tied fourth finish at the RBC Heritage on the PGA TOUR, moving the Englishman up three places on the World Points List and into the second automatic spot on 189.96 points.
Rounds of 71-64-68-68 saw the 2016 Ryder Cup rookie finish six short of winner Stewart Cink, who finished four strokes clear of his nearest competitor.
Since the points race restarted at the start of the calendar year, Fitzpatrick has enjoyed consistent form finishing inside the top 18 in seven of his nine starts.
This includes a tied fourth at Harbour Town Golf Links last week, as well as finishing tied fifth at the Genesis Invitational and tied ninth at The Players Championship.
Add to that a win at the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – the final tournament on the 2020 Race to Dubai in December –the 26-year-old is forging a strong case to make Captain Pádraig Harrington’s team at Whistling Straits in September.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry also had an impressive week in South Carolina, finishing in a tie for ninth place after rounds of 70-65-72-66.
This moved Lowry up two places on the World Points List and into 13th on 108.09 points as he chases his maiden Ryder Cup appearance.
Other notable performances came from a duo of Englishmen in Danny Willett and Matt Wallace as they both finished in a tie for 18th on nine-under-par.
The former currently sits on the bubble of the World Points List in 12th with 115.30 points, while Wallace – who is chasing a Ryder Cup debut – sits five places further back in 17th with 81.59 points.
Meanwhile, two-time Major champion Martin Kaymer showed promising signs that a first win since his 2014 U.S. Open triumph is just around the corner by finishing in solo third at the Austrian Golf Open.
The four-time Ryder Cup player, who holed that unforgettable putt to retain the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, started the final day tied for the lead with Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares, however would play the first three holes in three over par.
A back nine of four under par shot Kaymer back up the leaderboard but would fall three stokes short of fellow countryman Maximilian Kieffer and USA’s John Catlin, with the latter winning the tournament after a five hole play-off.
Before the tournament Kaymer said: “I haven’t ticked the Ryder Cup off at all. It’s always there, that belief. I think I need a hot summer, a couple of wins maybe.
“If I come in three or four weeks before, if my form is really good, maybe it’s enough. Or Harrington might want me on the team, who knows?
“But I'll never give up on that goal. Form is very important when you get into the Ryder Cup. You don’t always have to play great golf in advance in order to make the team. If you’re a hot player, two or three months before, you might stand a chance to be on the team.
“The Ryder Cup is huge and it was a real pain not to be part of the team in France. I know I’m quite far away right now but I feel like I’m doing a lot of things right at the moment to have a good summer.”
This finish moved the former World Number One up 12 places on the European Points List into fifth place on 939.87 points.
He also climbed 16 places and into 28th position on the World Points List with 50.79 points.
As it stands Tommy Fleetwood (4,911.26 points), Jon Rahm (4,823.60 points), Tyrrell Hatton (4,726.56 points) and Rory McIlroy (3,885.19 points) fill the automatic qualification places on the European Points List.
Meanwhile, Lee Westwood (218.35 points), Fitzpatrick (189.96 points), Victor Perez (187.37 points), Paul Casey (176.82 points) and Viktor Hovland (173.25 points) currently occupy the World Points List spots.