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Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood is hoping for a successful week at the D+D REAL Czech Masters as the race to qualify automatically for a place in Europe's 2018 Ryder Cup Team begins.

This week's tournament in Prague is the first European Tour event where players can earn points towards qualifying for next year's showpiece at Le Golf National.

Englishman Westwood, who has represented Europe at the Ryder Cup on ten occasions, is among a high quality field at Albatross Golf Resort - a course he holds in high esteem.

And he is looking to get some early points on the board in the coming weeks.

It's always nice to get off to a good start when the Ryder Cup qualifying starts - Lee Westwood

He said: "It is something that everybody pays attention to, you know it's always nice to get off to a good start when The Ryder Cup qualifying starts.

 "I will be trying to do that this week and over the next couple of weeks.

"I love coming to the Czech Republic, and Prague. It's one of the best cities in Europe. It's a great golf course and the people are very friendly.

"I have just had a couple of weeks' holiday so I am looking forward to getting going again.

"It's a good golf course, there are some tough holes on it and some birdie chances as well. There is a little bit of water out there and you need to keep it straight, so I think it will provide a good test.

"Everything is pretty good. I was down in Portugal so I played a little bit of golf, so I'm not as rusty as I might have been normally after a couple of weeks off, so I'm quite hopeful for this week."

Four-time Ryder Cup player Martin Kaymer is also in the field this week but he is not focusing his mind on next year's event just yet.

He said: "I played with Thomas Bjørn last week - we played the first two rounds together - and he said I should get it going soon, and I said 'Thomas, I don’t think anyone has ever made the team from the first event', so I think it all really depends on when April comes next year.

"My focus is not the Ryder Cup Team, it's more about trying to get somewhere in the top 15, top ten in the Race to Dubai, that would be great, and then the Ryder Cup. 

"Obviously since I played the very first time, you always want to be part of it, especially when it is in Europe. It is one of the greatest events that we have in our job.

"I had four weeks off before the tournament last week and I've heard a lot of good things about the event here.

"I talked to Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and a few of the other guys and they were really impressed by the golf course, so I look forward to playing the pro-am tomorrow to have a look for myself and then we will give it a go on Sunday."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PORTEOUS, HaydnRSA18-13
2SLATTERY, LeeENG18-11
T3LEWIS, TomENG18-10
T3WIDEGREN, PontusSWE18-10
T5PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-8
T5LENGDEN, OscarSWE18-8

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