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Pablo Larrazabal admits he has struggled to perform under the Ryder Cup spotlight – but is adamant he is still just one victory away from making Luke Donald’s team.

The Spaniard burst into Ryder Cup contention with two wins in three events this spring. The 40-year-old won the Korean Open in April and backed that up with victory in the KLM Open just four weeks later.

He reached 10th on the European points list and was paired with Donald at the recent BMW International Open as the captain continues to weigh up his six wildcard options.

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But now down to 16th in the European standings, Larrazabal’s momentum has stalled completely, with three missed cuts in four tournaments since his triumph in the Netherlands.

And speaking to ahead of the Open at Royal Liverpool, the 40-year-old immediately downplayed the idea of wearing blue and gold for the first time in Rome this September.

“I don’t know what that means,” he joked when asked about the Ryder Cup. “That Ryder Cup word you’re saying is not in my mind anymore. I forgot about it! 

“I know the vice-captains, the captain, everyone wants to play with me. That’s probably why I’m playing so bad nowadays. 

“It would be awesome but it would be a result of doing very good things everyday. My main goal will be to keep performing and winning golf tournaments and then the Ryder Cup will come.

“That’s why Luke Donald wants to play with me,” Larrazabal added, discussing his recent purple patch. “I’ve been paired with the vice-captains the last few weeks and they know I’m one win away from being in the team.”

Donald appears to already have a strong core of eight players – Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry all look likely to tee it up at the Marco Simone Course.

But there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the European skipper’s other captain’s picks, with Larrazabal amongst a number of potential rookies under consideration.

When asked if the pressure of making the team is now weighing heavy, Larrazabal said: “I’ve missed three cuts the last four tournaments so is that pressure? Being on the radar of the Ryder Cup brings pressure.

“That’s why the best result in the last four tournaments has been a tie for 53rd!”

Larrazabal may be an outsider to play in Rome at this stage, despite his two victories, but knows a strong performance in the final major of the year will significantly boost his chances.

Unfortunately, he has a miserable record in golf’s oldest major, failing to make the cut since 2012, while his best finish was a tie for 30th at Royal St George’s in 2011.

But the affable Larrazabal is still relishing the challenge of impressing Donald and co. on the links layout at Hoylake this week.

“This will be my ninth Open and I always enjoy it,” he said. “These are the best crowds in the world.

“This golf course suited my eye the first time I stepped here nine years ago and lets see if I get lucky, because an Open championship you need luck the first two rounds with the weather. But I love the challenge.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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