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Nicolai Højgaard insists he is not getting distracted amid Ryder Cup talk

Nicolai Højgaard insists he is not getting distracted amid Ryder Cup talk

Nicolai Højgaard is only focusing on himself after the Ryder Cup spotlight shone on the young Dane when he took the clubhouse lead at the halfway mark of the D+D Real Czech Masters.

Nicolai Hojgaard

The 22-year-old Dane is not in contention for the Ryder Cup via the European Points List, which has seen Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm already seal the top two of the three available spots with Robert MacIntyre currently occupying the final slot with two events to play.

But Højgaard could be in the thoughts of Team Europe Captain Luke Donald after recording a blemish-free 67 on Friday to set the clubhouse lead at 12 under par at Albatross Golf Resort, which was only bettered by Sweden's Alexander Björk by one shot.

He began his second round with a birdie at the tenth before adding another at the 13th as he reached the turn at nine under par.

Højgaard reached double figures when he dialled into four feet at the first hole before rolling in another gain at the fifth from six feet.

The Dane wrapped up his scoring with a brilliant bunker shot to two feet to tap in his fifth birdie of the day at the sixth to set the early pace for the rest of the field in Prague.

The two-time DP World Tour winner has been a picture of consistency during the 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex campaign with 11 cuts made from his 12 appearances and will certainly make another this weekend.

He has five top-ten finishes, which includes a tie for fifth at the DS Automobiles Italian Open - the same venue where the Ryder Cup will be played next month.

A tie for sixth at the Genesis Scottish Open also proves he can mix it with the best in the world, which could come into Donald's thinking when he names his Captain’s Picks on Monday 4th September.

"I didn’t drive it as well as I did yesterday, it was playing a little bit more tricky out there. I hit some good approach shots and rolled a couple of putts," Højgaard said.

"I’m really happy being bogey-free in a round like this when I feel like it wasn’t as good. There’s work to do at the weekend and I’m looking forward to it.

"Everyone in this field wants to play in the Ryder Cup. You can feel it getting closer.

"The only thing you can do is focus on yourself, do your preparation, do your work, go out and do your best and hopefully we can be in Luke’s mind when we get to after Switzerland. We are just trying to go out and do as good as we can, hopefully that’ll be good enough."

"One of the best memories I remember was back in 2012. That’s when I started playing a lot of golf, I remember that clearly, watching them making the comeback.

"And 2018 with Thomas as Captain and Thorbjørn playing and we were at the side watching it. I can’t describe how much I want to be on that team.

"But the only thing I can do at the moment is play good golf, do the work and do the best I can."

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