Newport, Wales. Paul Lawrie goes into this week’s Wales Open knowing his performance at the BMW PGA Championship means he has been pencilled into Jose Maria Olazabal’s Ryder Cup team.
“I think Paul’s pretty much in after what he did last week,” Olazabal said.
“If he plays just decent golf from now on I think he is pretty much in the team. He proved last week that he must have played really well to shoot 6-under par  in the last round and finish second on that golf course, which is a huge challenge.”
Olazabal also praised Lawrie’s form since he won the Andalucian Open in March 2011.
“I have to take my hat off to him because the last part of last season was extraordinary. He played really well and has kept that level this year.”
Lawrie finished second at the Dubai World Championship, the European Tour’s end-of-season event. He went on to win his seventh tour title at the Qatar Masters in February and finished third in the World Match Play Championship the week before Wentworth.
Lawrie, who has six top-10 finishes this year, said on Wednesday that making the Ryder Cup team would rank higher than his victory at the British Open in 1999.
“It would be the biggest achievement of my career,” said Lawrie. “I’ve never hidden the fact, this year the Ryder Cup is really the only big thing I am interested in doing. I would love to play in that team.
“I’ll not be on that team until the list comes out and my name is on it, mentally as far as I’m concerned,” the Scot said.
The Wales Open starts on Thursday at Celtic Manor, where Europe won the Ryder Cup in 2010.
Defending champion Alexander Noren of Sweden is hoping for a repeat of the same pattern of success he enjoyed last year. In the same week in 2011, Noren qualified for the US Open on the Monday and later in the week won the Wales Open.
At the start of this week, he again qualified for the second major of the year.
“It was pretty much exactly the same as it happened last year,” Noren said. “I was so pleased to get into the US Open (last year), so I relaxed because I was on a high. Winning here was fantastic and everything went on from there. It’s just nice to be back with all the memories.
“The main thing I think is to play the best courses with the best players and you will improve. That is why I am so happy to qualify for the US Open now so I have the chance to do that.”
Also entered are Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinaro, and 2002 US PGA Championship winner Rich Beem.