Czech Open: Peter Hanson’s Ryder Cup joy is at Paul Casey’s expense
Colin Montgomerie will have to pick three from Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Justin Rose when he names his Ryder Cup wildcards on Sunday. That much became certain when Peter Hanson won the Czech Open yesterday.
The Swede's play-off victory in Celadna leapfrogged him above Paul Casey (below) into the top nine who will automatically go forward into the biennial match against America at Celtic Manor in five weeks' time. Casey will now throw himself at Monty's mercy; just like Europe's other three golfing heavyweights.
There is one qualifying event remaining, but the big-named quartet have all decided to tee it up in the Barclays in New Jersey this week rather than the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Only Rose would have had no chance of playing his way in by right if he had made the trip over.
The upshot from it is that at least one supposed certainty is going to be left disappointed by Montgomerie's announcement.
Perhaps it will be two if Montgomerie decides he has to pair Edoardo Molinari with his brother, Francesco, whose spot was confirmed yesterday. Or even three, if Montgomerie decides he cannot select someone who has put the dollar chase before representing his continent. The next seven days will tell.
Meanwhile, in the race proper, Miguel Angel Jimenez has put himself in severe danger of missing out. The veteran Spaniard also saw Hanson overtake him yesterday. Jimenez managed only a closing 73 on the Prosper course he designed, dropping from joint second overnight into a tie for seventh. That could cost him dear. The 46-year-old does not intend going to Scotland either, electing to attend a nephew's wedding instead, and could be knocked out by Ross McGowan, Simon Dyson or Alvaro Quiros. The first-named will have to finish in the top two, while the other two will need to win.
Hanson is all but assured of his debut. The 32-year-old, who held a four-stroke lead going into the final round, seemed to be crumbling under the pressure when he suffered three successive bogeys from the second and then double-bogeyed the 12th. But a birdie on the 16th drew him level with Dubliner Peter Lawrie and the unheralded Englishman Gary Boyd and despite a 74 he scraped into the three-man shootout.
On the second sudden death hole, an 18-foot birdie putt gave him his second title of the season — and a dream date on October 1. Hanson only secured a sponsors' invite on Monday and was clearly overjoyed.
Only if Dyson and McGowan finish first and second, in that order, will he be denied. A brilliant driver with a solid short game, Hanson will not let down Montgomerie. In any normal circumstance he would be delighted to have him on his team. But this is far from a normal situation — and is anything but comfortable for the Europe captain.