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Parnevik's victory should ensue Ryder Cup berth

Jesper Parnevik's second American Tour victory in North Carolina makes him odds-on for another Ryder Cup wild card later this year.

Parnevik, a two-stroke winner of the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic yesterday, plays nearly all his golf in the United States and is unlikely to qualify automatically for Mark James' side for Boston in September.

The 34-year-old was part of the winning team at Valderrama two years ago - but made that line-up only because of the controversial dropping of Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin.

Then captain Seve Ballesteros was planning to give his wild cards to Jose Maria Olazabal and Nick Faldo, but Martin's axing pushed the subsequent Masters champion into an automatic spot and Parnevik was called up.

He did not let Ballesteros down, teaming up with fellow Swede Per-Ulrik Johansson to win an opening fourball match and then twice gaining a half in the foursomes with Ignacio Garrido.

Now, as things stand, Parnevik has to be ahead of struggling Faldo in James' thoughts at the halfway stage of the qualifying race.

Faldo missed his sixth halfway cut of the season at the Spanish Open last Friday and has not had a tour victory for 25 months. Parnevik's 480,000 US dollar (£300,000) winner's cheque pushes him back towards the world's top 20.

His previous victory came in the Phoenix Open in January last year, and in the last two Open championship Parnevik has finished second and fourth.

It was a Swedish double this weekend, of course, with Jarmo Sandelin - Finland-born, but a Swedish citizen - capturing the Spanish Open by four shots in Barcelona.

Sandelin leapt from 13th to fifth in the Ryder Cup points table as a result.

Another Swede, Gabriel Hjertstedt, had his second US Tour victory in Tucson in February. But since both his victories have come when all the stars were away - first at the Ryder Cup at Valderrama, then at the world match play championship in California - it means he remains only an outside bet for a Ryder Cup wild card.

TRW