Ryder Cup contenders Simon Dyson and Francesco Molinari headed to Sawgrass in Florida today in totally contrasting moods.
Italian Molinari was over-the-moon about his closing 65 at the Spanish Open, a round which swept him to a three-stroke win after he started the final day four behind.
Dyson’s hopes of a cup debut in September took an almighty hit, however, when he dropped from first to 12th with a 76.
The 34-year-old from York had been three clear of the field before finishing his third round with a double bogey and fell away badly after starting the final day with back-to-back birdies.
Both are competing this week at the Players Championship, with £5.8m (€7.2m) in prize money making it the richest event in golf.
Dyson would have moved into a Ryder Cup qualifying position with victory, but instead Molinari’s first win for almost 18 months brings him into the thick of the race for places.
Along with his brother Edoardo, the 29-year-old was part of the winning side at Celtic Manor.
“I just have to play the same golf a few more weeks and hopefully I will be there,” he said after producing the low round of the week in Seville.
“Everybody is desperate to make the team, but unfortunately for us there are only 12 spots.
“It’s going to be hard – there are a lot of great players in Europe at the moment.”
Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Spaniards Pablo Larrazabal and Alejandro Canizares shared second place in an event celebrating its 100th anniversary.
There was another anniversary on people’s minds too. It was a year ago today that Seve Ballesteros lost his battle with a brain tumour.
“One year from the passing of Seve, it’s just emotional to win here,” added Molinari.
“It was an un-Seve round because I hit a lot of fairways and greens. He was one of those players you just could not stop watching because you knew he could hit one of the best shots ever.”