• Olesen moves in, Sergio must be picked

    Sergio Garcia
    Sergio needs a captain's pick

    A strong week at the Nordea Masters moved Thorbjorn Olesen moved into the automatic qualification spot but Sergio Garcia will need to be picked for the European Ryder Cup side.

    The Dane, who has been in great form since his victory at the Italian Open, finished in solo fourth after rounds 68, 66, 67 and 67 to finish 12 under par for the tournament – two back of eventual winner Paul Waring and Thomas Aiken.

    The finish saw Olesen leapfrog Ian Poulter into the final qualifying spot on the World Points List and, with just two European Tour events left before the first eight players are confirmed, Olesen will look to remain there.

    After his Italian Open win – a Rolex Series event – Olesen has a further four T6 or better finishes including a tie for second at the BMW International Open and a T3 at the WGC-Bridgestone, as well as a T12 finish at The Open.

    As it stands, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood make up the four players qualifying on the European Points List with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren and Olesen make up the following four players on the World Points List.

    The European Tour heads to Prague for the D+D REAL Czech Masters this week, before the final qualifying event at the Made In Denmark Tournament a week later.

    In addition to his eight qualifiers, Thomas Bjorn will have four further wildcard selections the following week to join his team at Le Golf National.

    His biggest headache will be whether or not to include Sergio Garcia as a wildcard ahead of players on the bubble – Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Russell Knox, Eddie Pepperell and Poulter.

    Garcia, who has featured in eight previous editions, missed the FedExCup playoffs for the first time in his career and has seen his world ranking slide out to 25th. The Spaniard, who last year won The Masters, has struggled for form this year with his T8 finish at the French Open – the venue for this year’s showdown against the USA – his best result since missing the cut in his defence at Augusta.

    It’s been a miserable season but Garcia’s Ryder Cup history – he played in every match in 2016 and was sublime in securing his halve against Phil Mickelson in the Sunday singles – will weigh heavily in his favour.

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