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Raphael Jacquelin targets Ryder Cup

France’s Raphael Jacquelin said it was only a matter of time before a French name returned to the Ryder Cup team list after watching his countrymen win two of the last three European Tour events.

The 33-year-old, who will defend his Asian Open title in Shanghai starting on Thursday, has taken heart from victories by Thomas Levet at last month’s Andalucia Open and Gregory Bourdy in the Portuguese Open the following week.

Levet was the last Frenchman to play in the Ryder Cup, helping Europe to victory in 2004.

“It is not a big surprise as the French group is improving a lot. We are all working hard to compete at the top in Europe and maybe later the top of the world,” Jacquelin told the European Tour Web site.

“There is a lot of competition and it is good. It’s the way to go. And maybe we will see a French player in the Ryder Cup team at the end of the year.”.

While struggling to make the cut at last week’s China Open, Jacquelin was busy admiring 2007 Challenge Tour champion Michael Lorenzo-Vera’s joint-second finish behind Ireland’s Damien McGrane.

“That was his best finish and he has great potential. He has a good mental approach, never gives up. And he is young,” Jacquelin said of the 23-year-old French rookie.

Jacquelin, who enjoyed a ritual champagne-dousing from French players after snatching last year’s Asian Open, was less bullish about his own prospects of sustaining the hot French streak this week.

The Frenchman will have to overcome the likes of twice U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Swedish world number 13 Henrik Stenson at the Tomson Golf Club, after taking a month off.

“I can’t say (my form) is the same this year as I haven’t played for a month but you never know in this game. I just need to get some rhythm,” he said.

The 2008 Ryder Cup will be held from Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.


April 24, 2008

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