Ry­der Cup star Pi­eters eye­ing US tour card

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ry­der Cup rookie sen­sa­tion Thomas Pi­eters wants to re­peat his im­pres­sive show­ing at Hazel­tine by push­ing for full mem­ber­ship of the US PGA Tour early next year.

The 24-year-old Bel­gian will con­test four events, in­clud­ing two on the reg­u­lar PGA Tour, ahead of mak­ing his US Masters de­but in April. Last week’s Ry­der Cup at Hazel­tine saw Pi­eters be­come the first Euro­pean rookie to win four points on his first ap­pear­ance, although the United States won the match 17-11.

Pi­eters will be­gin his tilt at earn­ing full mem­ber­ship of the PGA Tour for 2017/18 in Fe­bru­ary’s Ge­n­e­sis Open at the Riviera Club in subur­ban Los An­ge­les — the same course where as an am­a­teur he won the 2012 Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion ti­tle.

“I’ve played a lot of am­a­teur golf in the US so I’m look­ing for­ward to go­ing back there at the start of the new year, and par­tic­u­larly Riviera, where I won be­fore,” said Pi­eters at St An­drews on Wed­nes­day ahead of this week’s Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship on the Scot­tish course.

His man­age­ment team in­di­cated that all four events, plus the Masters, along with a num­ber of other in­vi­ta­tions through­out 2017 will count towards Pi­eters se­cur­ing full 2017/18 Tour mem­ber­ship. Mean­while the qui­etly spo­ken Pi­eters, now ranked 39 in the world, sought to play down his im­pres­sive Ry­der Cup de­but. “It’s tough to talk about my in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance when you lose on a team,” he said. “You go there as a team, so you win or you lose as a team. “I did play great and I’m re­ally happy to have earned four points. But three of those points were with Rory (McIl­roy) so I don’t see it as my four points.” Pi­eters is hope­ful the ex­pe­ri­ence of con­test­ing a Ry­der Cup will stand him in good stead. “I feel I can learn a lot from play­ing in the Ry­der Cup and more than I think I would learn play­ing in the Ma­jors,” he said. Pi­eters joins fel­low Hazel­tine Euro­pean team mem­bers Danny Wil­lett, Lee West­wood, Matthew Fitz­patrick and Rafa Cabr­era Bello at this week’s $5 mil­lion (£4 mil­lion, 4.4 mil­lion eu­ros) tour­na­ment at St An­drews. — AFP

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