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Golf Today 9th March
Three Walker Cup winners turn professional
Nobody elected to Golf Hall of Fame for 2000
Philip Walton gets first chance back on tour
Norman to announce new big Australian tournament
European Tour: Qatar Masters Preview
PGA Tour: Honda Classic Preview

Philip Walton gets first chance back on tour

Philip Walton, who enjoyed the highs of Ryder Cup victory in 1995, returns to European Tour action in the Qatar Masters on an invitation on Thursday.

The Dubliner lost his Tour card last year after a poor season and finished 77th and last of those who survived the 72-hole cut in the subsequent Tour qualifying school.

Walton's fortunes have dipped since he clinched the winning point for Europe in the 1995 Ryder Cup match against the United States at Oak Hill. He will be hoping that laser eye surgery he underwent in San Diego to correct short-sightedness will kick-start his ailing career.

Swedes Patrik Sjoland, Mathias Gronberg and Per-Ulrik Johansson will go into the Doha event with considerably bigger ambitions than Walton. All will be trying to clinch the ninth place in Europe's Ballesteros Trophy team next month.

Gronberg, winner of the second European Tour event of the year, the South African Open, and Sjoland, tied for second on Sunday at the Desert Classic in Dubai, are best-placed for the team event between continental Europe and Britain and Ireland at Sunningdale, England.

Johannson, $65,000 adrift of the lower-placed Sjoland will have to take the title to have any chance of rising to the top of the European qualification list which closes after four more events. Sjoland must clinch his place this week as he will not be playing in the next three events.

"I like the course and I've got a proven record here," said Sjoland, "so I'm hopeful I can get the win this year. I'd really like to get into the European team for Sunningdale and play for Seve Ballesteros...it's the next best thing to making the Ryder Cup.

"I didn't know about the Ballesteros Trophy when I made out my schedule and I've got a five-week break (after the Qatar Masters) so I have to win this week to get above Mathias and then see if I can be caught."

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