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Order of Merit race moves to Mallorca

Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson are planning to take advantage of the absence of Paul Casey and David Howell from this week's Mallorca Classic to boost their attempts to be crowned European number one.

The tournament is the penultimate counting event for the order of merit title but leader Casey is resting at his Arizona home while fellow Briton Howell is trying to shake off a shoulder injury.

Irishman Harrington, second in the money list, can overtake Casey by winning the first prize of 291,660 euros on Sunday.

Karlsson can also set up a thrilling four-way race for the order of merit crown at next week's Volvo Masters in Valderrama.

If the Swede wins in Mallorca, he would rise one place in the table to third.

Harrington declared his intention to play in Mallorca within minutes of capturing the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews earlier this month.

"It would be a big deal to win the order of merit," the Irishman was quoted as saying on the European Tour's official Web site.

"Once you hit September, you really start thinking about the order of merit if you're in with a chance of it. Certainly I've been using it as a motivation since the Ryder Cup to get focused and to get out on the golf course and push on."

Harrington said the money-list title was second only in importance to the four majors.

"At the end of your career you're going to be judged on how many tournament wins you have, then how many majors," he said.

"After that you're going to be judged on whether you won the order of merit and maybe your world ranking. I would definitely like to have an order of merit on my c.v."

Harrington is one of five members of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team in action this week.

The others are Karlsson, Ireland's Paul McGinley and Spanish pair Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Last year, Olazabal extended the Spanish dominance of the Mallorca Classic.

The tournament was won in its inaugural year of 2003 by Miguel Angel Jimenez and 12 months later by Garcia.

October 17, 2006

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