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Langer returns focus to Europe

Bernhard Langer, who has focused his playing schedule this year on the U.S. PGA Tour, has confirmed his entry for the European Tour's season-ending Volvo Masters tournament at Valderrama in Spain.

The twice U.S. Masters champion, winner of the 1994 Volvo Masters at Club de Golf Valderrama, will be competing in Europe for only the 10th time this season at next week's event.

Won last year by Ireland's Padraig Harrington at Montecastillo, the Volvo Masters is being staged at Valderrama for the first time since 1996, when Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty was champion. It starts on November 7.

Germany's Langer, a member of Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup team at The Belfry last month, is relishing the chance to return to a course where he has fared well in the past.

The 45-year-old has finished in the Volvo Masters top 10 eight times and his 1994 triumph was built on a superb course record of nine-under-par 62 in the second round.

"That round of 62 is certainly one of the top three rounds in my life and came at a very important time for me," said Langer in a statement.

"I definitely liked it (Valderrama) immediately. One reason is that it is always in excellent condition and has very fast greens -- both of these factors were in evidence when I first saw Valderrama.

"It's also a golf course where you have to think. It plays to my strengths."

Langer has played in 14 tournaments on U.S. soil this year with a highest finish of fourth at the WorldCom Classic in late April.

In Europe, his best performance was a tie for second at the BMW International Open in Munich, four strokes behind winner Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.

The Volvo Masters, the final event of the season on the European Tour, is contested by an elite field of 66.

The tournament often decides the European Tour order of merit and next week title-holder and current leader Retief Goosen of South Africa will be locked in a tight battle to top the money list with reigning Volvo Masters champion Harrington.

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