Colsaerts reaches for Ryder Cup place in bid to make history

BELGIAN Ryder Cup hopeful Nicolas Colsaerts signalled his determination to snatch the last automatic qualifying place on the European team by making a strong start to the Johnnie Walker Championship yesterday.

Colsaerts, who needs to finish in the top two at Gleneagles to swipe the spot from Martin Kaymer, shot a 69 to finish the first round three under par – two shots behind the joint leaders Brett Rumford and Knut Borsheim.

The 29-year-old is aiming to make history by becoming the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup, which takes place at Medinah Country Club, Chicago, next month.

He said: “I am very happy as I was in control of my game and this is the start that I wanted without too much stress. The only thing I can do is to make sure of what I do and not worry about the others.”

PERMUTATIONS

European Ryder Cup Team
■ Nine men have already booked their places in the European team: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Peter Hanson and Sergio Garcia

■ Germany’s Martin Kaymer currently occupies the 10th automatic qualifying spot, but will be overtaken by Nicolas Closaerts if the Belgian finishes first or second at the Johnnie Walker Championship

■ Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal will complete his 12-man team by naming two wildcard picks on Monday. Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington and Closaerts are among the leading contenders