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European Ryder Cup race nears end

The year-long fight for Ryder Cup points reaches a fascinating conclusion at this week's BMW International Open in Munich.

The 10 automatic selections in Europe's 12-man team for next month's biennial match against the U.S. in County Kildare, Ireland will be decided when the final putt is holed on Sunday.

Captain Ian Woosnam will then announce his two wildcard choices for the Cup defence at the K Club.

Britain's Luke Donald, David Howell, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey, Swedes Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson and Sergio Garcia of Spain have secured their places in the team.

Garcia's fellow countryman Jose Maria Olazabal has opted not to play in Munich, leaving his fifth-place in the world points list under threat.

The top five in the world list plus the leading five in the European points list not already exempt from the world list are selected automatically.

Irish pair Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, ninth and 10th on the overall list, are also at risk.

Those occupying 11th to 14th on the European points list, Paul Broadhurst, Johan Edfors, John Bickerton and Thomas Bjorn, are breathing down their necks.  

Experienced Ryder Cup players like Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, as well as absentees such as Darren Clarke, will be among those hoping for a wildcard.

Weekend rounds of 66 and 65 gave Howell victory in Munich last year.

Big-hitting American John Daly, who returns this week, and Australian Brett Rumford shared second place 12 months ago.

Briton Malcolm Mackenzie this week becomes only the fourth player to reach the milestone of 600 European Tour events.

August 30, 2006


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