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US stars set sights on automatic Cup spots Women golfers called

The Open may have only finished on Sunday and the final major of the year, the USPGA Championship, is just a few weeks away, but attention is already turning to October's Ryder Cup.

That is especially true for American players seeking to claim one of eight automatic places on Corey Pavin's team, with the last counting event, the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits, ending on August 15.

While Europe's qualifying period does not end until after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles two weeks later, Pavin will know his eight qualifiers at Whistling Straits and will then wait three more weeks before announcing his four wild cards on September 7.

It is no surprise to see the likes of Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods in the automatic places, although Woods is only seventh given his inconsistent form since returning to action in April at the US Masters at Augusta.

Both Furyk and Stricker have won twice on the US Tour this season, although surprisingly Furyk missed the cut in the Masters and Open Championship this year and is a collective 26 over par for the three majors so far.

Just behind Woods in the table, Matt Kuchar has been the epitome of consistency this season, making the cut in 14 of his 17 events with six top-10s and 11 top-25 finishes. But most interestingly of all is the player fourth in the standings, Anthony Kim, who has been out of action since May following an operation on a thumb injury.

Kim made a big impression on his Ryder Cup debut at Valhalla, winning one and a half points from three matches with Phil Mickelson and then thrashing Sergio Garcia 5&4 in the first singles match. Pavin is on record as saying Kim is the "type of guy" he wants on his team, but admits he will have to monitor how Kim shapes up on his return.

Current US Ryder Cup standings: 1 Phil Mickelson 5,768pts, 2 Steve Stricker 3,402, 3 Jim Furyk 3,280, 4 Anthony Kim 3,238, 5 Lucas Glover 2,980, 6 Dustin Johnson 2,936, 7 Tiger Woods 2,773, 8 Matt Kuchar 2,725, 9 Jeff Overton 2,629, 10 Ricky Barnes 2,579, 11 Hunter Mahan 2,577, 12 Ben Crane 2,486, 13 Stewart Cink 2,394, 14 Nick Watney 2,297, 15 Rickie Fowler 2,259, 16 Bubba Watson 2,202, 17 Bo Van Pelt 2,156, 18 JB Holmes 2,129, 19 Sean O'Hair 2,122, 20 Zach Johnson 2,118.

Women golfers called

HOLLYSTOWN Golf Club this evening begins an innovative programme for beginner lady golfers at the Co Dublin venue. 'Golfari Dublin' runs for four intensive sessions until Saturday and covers all aspects of learning to play and enjoy the game.

The course includes a specific one-to-one session with professional Joe Murray, during which he will analyse the participant's game and design a specific improvement plan.

The Lady Beginner Programme offers golfers and would-be golfers the opportunity to learn to play in a friendly and fun atmosphere, meet new friends and golfing partners and become a member of Hollystown Golf Club.

Contact Hollystown Golf Club at 01 820 7444 for more details.