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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019

Rookie Olesen secures final automatic spot on Europe's Ryder Cup team

Eight of the 12 berths on Thomas Bjorn’s team have now been filled.

THORBJORN OLESEN WILL make his Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National this month after qualifying on Sunday, taking the final automatic spot on Thomas Bjorn’s European team. 

GOLF: AUG 05 PGA - WGC-Bridgestone Invitational_Final_Round World number 40 will make his Ryder Cup debut next month. Source: Shelley Lipton

With rivals Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell falling short in their attempts to win at the Made in Denmark, Olesen is now certain of being on Bjorn’s team for the event in Paris.

The Dane signed for a final round of 68 at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club, including four birdies in a five-hole run on the back nine, to finish the week on 11-under.

He then had to watch on nervously as Fitzpatrick attempted to secure the tournament victory he needed to leap over his rival in the World Points list.

The Englishman started the day six shots back of overnight leader Lee Westwood but pushed hard in his unlikely bid for glory, picking up four shots on the front nine before adding a further two birdies after the turn.

However, his final 16-under-par total was not quite enough in Aarhus, confirming Olesen in the final automatic spot.

“Winning out here is tough, so it was always a big ask. I gave it a good go and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come over the next few months,” 24-year-old Fitzpatrick said.

“I would obviously love to be one of them [a wildcard pick] but Thomas will be doing his homework and looking at all aspects of everyone’s game.”

Pepperell, meanwhile, finished way back at five under after signing for a 70.

Both he and Fitzpatrick will have to wait until Wednesday to see if they are chosen by Bjorn, who will complete his line-up by naming four wildcard picks.

Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Alex Noren were already certain of making the team before this week.

Matt Wallace boosted his chances of earning a wildcard pick as he produced a fast finish before prevailing in a four-man play-off in Denmark. 

The Englishman was well off the pace before reeling off a stunning run of five birdies over the final six holes, lifting him to 19-under.

Westwood, Jonathan Thomson and Steven Brown also finished on the same score, meaning the quartet went to extra holes to find a winner.

Watched on by Bjorn, Wallace kept his cool under pressure, producing back-to-back birdies at the 18th to see off his compatriots. 

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Ryan Bailey

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