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European Ryder Cup hopeful Yannik Paul has skipped the third last qualifying event despite hovering around the automatic qualification positions.

The Telegraph reports that the German’s decision not to play in the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland has been described as “bizarre” by one Ryder Cup insider.

Paul, 29, has a debut in the biennial contest against the USA within his grasp, sitting just 90 points behind Scot Robert MacIntyre in fourth in the European Points List.

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The top three on the European Points List make Luke Donald’s team at Marco Simone, making Paul’s decision to snub the tournament at Galgorm Castle this week all the more intriguing.

He is so close to edging into an automatic qualifying position, but MacIntyre will now have the opportunity to move further ahead as he heads the field in the DP World Tour event.

Victor Perez, the Frenchman who won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship back in January, can also nudge in front of Paul.

And it appears Paul has chosen not to compete because he is more fixated on claiming one of the 10 PGA Tour cards that are up for grabs at the end of the 2023 Race to Dubai campaign.

Paul’s manager Duncan Maxim told the Telegraph: “I can see that other people might believe that Yannik should have maybe played ISPS and that maybe he could have shown a little bit more willing from the outside.

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“But there are games within games at the minute. So we’ve got the Ryder Cup, which is naturally high up on Yannik’s priority list, but he’s also got the PGA Tour cards as well.”

Maxim adds that there is a concern that Paul could suffer from fatigue if he overplays and harm his chances in the more lucrative events such as Wentworth’s BMW Championship, when the Ryder Cup cut-off has already been made.

Paul is ninth in the standings with Perez, MacIntyre, Adrian Meronk, Min Woo Lee and Pablo Larrazabal among those also currently in line to receive a coveted PGA Tour card.

But he will have just two more tournaments to stake his Ryder Cup claim following the DP World’s Tour’s month-long break.

He will tee it up in next week’s Czech Masters and then at the European Masters, with Team Europe skipper Donald scheduled to announce his six wildcards in the immediate aftermath of the tournament in Switzerland.

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