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Lots to play for at Canaries Open

The prize money may be minimal in this week's Canaries Open but victory could lead to a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

First prize is only $100,000 but the winner qualifies for the Champions Tournament in Shanghai which offers an $833,300 reward, over halfway towards a Ryder Cup place, tempting last year's PGA Championship winner Scott Drummond to play.

"When I realised a win could get me into the Champions Tournament it made my mind up for me about coming here," said the Scot who caused one of the surprises of the season when he beat a glittering field in the flagship event at Wentworth.

"A win would be doubly good. I'm 72,000 euros off a top-60 place for qualification for the Volvo Masters and I could move past that if I win.

"Then it would be all to play for over the next two weeks."

The previous year's PGA winner Ignacio Garrido, enjoying a five-year tour exemption, also plays at the Tenerife venue but many in the field are battling to make their cards for next year.

Veteran Gordon Brand Junior is one but the 47-year-old former Ryder Cup player and eight-times tour winner received a helping hand on Wednesday when his placing on the all-time ranking improved by four places to 39th. The top 40 qualify for full tour cards.

That was because Phillip Price, Mark James, Alex Cejka and Fredrik Jacobson have ceased to be European Tour members.

Their earnings will be reinstated when they reapply for membership but their omission is good news for Brand.

"It's a lifeline," said the Scot languishing 176th on the European money-list and worried about his future.

"Now I've got to make sure I stay in the top 40 to the end of the season.

"I wouldn't want to go to tour school and I was looking at playing on invitations next year, along with regional events."

Britain's Mark Roe and Spaniard Santiago Luna play their 500th European Tour events.


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