NEWPORT, Wales (AP) – Paul Lawrie will keep pushing for a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team this week at the Wales Open, following his second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship.
Lawrie won his seventh European Tour title in February at the Qatar Masters and was third in the World Match Play Championship the week before Wentworth, where he was two shots behind Luke Donald. Lawrie has six top-10 finishes this year and a growing belief that he could make the Ryder Cup team for the first time since his debut in 1999.
“It would be the biggest achievement of my career,'' said Lawrie, who won the British Open in 1999. “I've never hidden the fact, this year the Ryder Cup is really the only big thing I am interested in doing. I would love to play in that team.''
Lawrie's performance means he's been penciled into Jose Maria Olazabal's Ryder Cup team.
“I think Paul's pretty much in after what he did last week,'' Olazabal said. “If he plays just decent golf from now on I think he is pretty much in the team. He proved last week that he must have played really well to shoot 6-under par (66) in the last round and finish second on that golf course, which is a huge challenge.''
The Wales Open starts on Thursday at Celtic Manor, where Europe won the Ryder Cup in 2010, and Lawrie's playing partner will be Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal. Defending champion Alexander Noren of Sweden is hoping for a repeat of the same pattern of success he enjoyed last year.
In the same week in 2011, Noren qualified for the U.S. Open on the Monday and later in the week won the Wales Open.
At the start of this week, he again qualified for the second major of the year.
“It was pretty much exactly the same as it happened last year,'' Noren said. “I was so pleased to get into the U.S Open (last year), so I relaxed because I was on a high. Winning here was fantastic and everything went on from there. It's just nice to be back with all the memories.''
Also entered are Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinaro, and 2002 U.S. PGA Championship winner Rich Beem.