Stenson pleased he didn’t hit the eject button playing alongside Harrington

Bernie McGuire

Padraig Harrington and Henrik Stenson (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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For a second week running, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson finds himself directly under the European Ryder Cup selection spotlight.

Last week, Stenson found himself playing the first two rounds in the company of European captain, Padraig Harrington and now this week the five-time Ryder Cup veteran has been grouped for the opening two days of the Omega European Masters with Whistling Straits vice-captain Martin Kaymer and 2018 Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari, who is the third member of the group teeing-up on the alpine Crans-sur-Sierre course.

Playing in the company of Harrington clearly worked with Stenson producing his first top-10 all year on either the PGA or European Tours with his share of fourth in Prague.

“I asked Padraig last week after playing the same group if I’ll get a rematch at Wentworth in a few weeks (smiling),” said Stenson.

“He said ‘that’s possible’ so I see that it doesn’t completely put me out of the equation. At least I didn’t hit the seat ejector button while playing alongside Padraig.

“I am a realist and I know that I have not performed to the level I want for a long, long time. I am trying my hardest to get my game back in good shape and if I do that, I hope I might be in with a shot. We still have another three weeks of qualifying to go and Wentworth to the deciding week.

“Wentworth will be the most important week out of the two events before the BMW PGA, so I don’t think it was only coincidence we played the first two rounds together at the Czech Masters.

“I also think it’s not a coincidence that Francesco and I are playing the first two rounds here in Crans with Martin, as he’s a Ryder Cup vice-captain. It’s only natural that those who are involved with picking the team are looking out to see who is doing what.

“All I can do is try to play my best and we’ll see where it takes us the next couple of weeks and if there were to be a spot on the team then I would want to go to Whistling Straits playing my best golf.”

Stenson is well down on both European qualifying points tables, 69th on the ‘Europe’ table and 28th on the ‘World’ points listing. The champion Swede, also now ranked 176th in the world, has played in five Ryder Cups including the last three.

His last victory was capturing the 2017 Wyndham Championship some five weeks after winning The Open at Royal Troon.

Cormac Sharvin, Jonathan Caldwell and Rowan Lester will carry Irish hopes this week in Switzerland.

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