Thomas Pieters will have the perfect platform to stake a last-minute claim for a Ryder Cup wild card as he partners European captain Darren Clarke in the first two rounds of the Made in Denmark event that begins today.
Belgian Pieters needed to defend his Czech Masters title last week to keep his hopes of securing an automatic place alive ahead of the final qualifying event. However, the world no. 54 lost out by a single shot to American Paul Peterson.
Clarke will name his three wild cards on August 30 and is widely expected to select the experienced pair of Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, leaving the final spot up for grabs. Pieters and Scotland’s world number 20 Russell Knox are understood to be the favourites for that place, but Clarke said there are “six or seven” players still in contention.
“There are guys playing here this week who I’m considering and guys playing in The Barclays I’m considering,” Clarke said at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort. “I’ll be paying very close attention to what happens in both.
“I would be looking maybe towards experience to balance the team up, but that doesn’t mean I won’t pick a rookie. Everyone I’m looking at, at the moment, would balance the team, whatever way that might be. It will be (about) finding the right blend.”
Ireland’s Shane Lowry is also in contention despite missing the cut in four of his last five events and said: “It’s going to be up to what Darren thinks himself but I think I tick a lot of boxes for him, so if I play well this week I might have a chance.
“I’ve played well in America so while I would be a rookie, I’ve won a massive tournament over there (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) so I feel like I tick a lot of boxes.”
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