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Thomas Bjorn looking for early Ryder Cup qualification

Thomas Bjorn set his sights Monday on securing a Ryder Cup place by the end of the year after winning the BMW International Open.

Bjorn was a member of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team at Valderrama in 1997, unbeaten in his two matches and memorably winning a crucial half point in the singles despite being 4 down after four holes against then-Open champion Justin Leonard.

The 29-year-old missed out two years later after admitting to trying too hard to earn his place at Brookline.

But he is determined to be a member of Sam Torrance's 12-man team at The Belfry next year as Europe tries to reclaim the trophy lost in such controversial circumstances last time.

And what's more, he is determined to do so by the end of this year to take the pressure off and allow him to concentrate on bettering his superb performances in the majors this season.

Thomas Bjorn shows of the BMW International trophy. Allsport.

The qualification period starts this week at the Canon European Masters at Crans-Sur-Sierre in Switzerland. With Bjorn in the form of his life and several lucrative events still to come, it is not impossible for the Dane to get his wish.

"The goal is to be in the team by the end of the season," Bjorn said after a final-round 67 in testing conditions gave him a three-shot win over Germany's Bernhard Langer Sunday.

"Then I don't have to worry about it next year and it gets it all out of the way and allows me to concentrate on other things.

"I spoke to Sam the other day, and he said he needs me in the team the way I am playing at the moment. Sam needs the 12 best players in Europe, and I am one of those at the moment.

"We need our strong guys to be in the team because it's a very sad thing when that trophy is sitting on the other side of the Atlantic."

Bjorn's victory was his fifth on the European Tour but first this season and follows some excellent recent performances. Bjorn finished second in the Open at St. Andrews and third in the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

The $222,000 first prize also lifts him to fourth in the Order of Merit with earnings of almost $1.4 million and has fired his interest in trying to win the money list at the end of the season.

"It brings me into the race for the Order of Merit, and that's something I need to look at," Bjorn said. "I'm still a long way behind Lee Westwood ($457,000), and I need to play well for the rest of the year.

"But when you are in the race you need to try to win it because you might never get the chance again, and hopefully I can be holding the trophy at the end of the season.


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