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McGinlay looks to book his place at the US Open

Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley is fighting hard for his US Open place and the Irishman is looking for a good Spanish Open this week to boost his cause.

McGinley, who sank the winning putt in the 2002 Ryder Cup and whose point helped Europe to a record score in 2004, needs to break into the top 50 in the world rankings by the end of next month.

He is currently 64th. The cut-off for the major at Pinehurst in June is May 30th, the final day of the BMW (European PGA) Championship at Wentworth

A 358,000-dollar first prize at San Roque this week would help McGinley on his way and, as the highest ranked player in the field, he knows he is expected to contend strongly.

"It hurts sitting at home when the (US) Masters is on, and the Accenture (WGC Matchplay) and the Players Championship," said McGinley on Wednesday.

"But the bottom line is, unless you are in the top 50 in the world, then you have to face the music and the music is: 'You are not in the tournament.'"

McGinley rued the sparse world ranking points available in Asian tournaments after he finished second in the TCL Classic in China and fourth in the Malaysian Open.

"I have had a good start to the season but like Monty (Colin Montgomerie) we are playing for so few points over in Asia, it is hard to make progress.

"I've been second and fourth and had two 11ths and yet I've gone backwards. I have to keep plugging away up to the BMW Championship."

McGinley has every chance of success at the tour school course in Andalucia, with Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, in 89th spot, his nearest rival in the world rankings.

The two most recent European Tour winners, Englishman Paul Broadhurst who won the Portuguese Open and Dutchman Robert Jan Derksen who claimed the Maderia Island title, are in the field while two Scots, Paul Lawrie and Gary Orr, could be a danger.

Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, finished second in the Portuguese Open two weeks ago through triple-bogeying the 71st hole and Orr settled for second in Madeira last week.

Another Frenchman, Christian Cevaer, is the defending champion.

English veteran Roger Chapman reaches the milestone of 600 European Tour tournaments this week, only previously attained by Sam Torrance who was a late withdrawal from the San Roque field with a sore neck, and Eamonn Darcy.


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