David Lingmerth wants a spot in the European Tour Ryder Cup team, and he’s started his quest at the 2015 Australian PGA Championship.
One of the strange quirks of the Ryder Cup is that ‘PGA Tour only’ players are ineligible to play for Team Europe. You simply must be a member of the European Tour to earn points to be on the team.
It’s a rule designed to make sure that Europe’s best players are a part of the European Tour but it seems bizarre that Lingmerth, as the world’s number 57 ranked golfer and winner of the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament isn’t even considered. Not even for a captain’s pick.
Knowing this, Lingmerth has himself a European Tour affiliate membership, meaning he can play in a limited number of events and at least come into consideration for the Ryder Cup.
It’s largely why the Swede is playing this week’s European Tour co-sanctioned Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines and he is now leading the tournament by a shot thanks to a fine 4-under par 68.
“I have actually joined The European Tour as an affiliate Member this week, so now I’m eligible to earn Race to Dubai points and Ryder Cup points,” said Lingmerth earlier this week.
“So I’m hoping to get to play some more on the European Tour this year coming up and make myself eligible for the Ryder Cup. If I play good enough I’ll hopefully make the team; if not at least I gave it a good try.”
Lingmerth will take a one stroke lead going into the weekend ahead of a bunch of six golfers at 2-under par including American Peter Uilhein, England’s Mark Foster and Australia’s Matt Millar.
Aside from Lingmerth’s rise to the top, the other big story of the day was round by Australia’s Rhein Gibson.
Gibson was once known as that golfer who carded a 16-under 55 a few years ago, but he’s now earned himself a PGA Tour card and looks in great touch after a crazy 8-under par 64 that included three bogeys and two eagles. His round set the course record for the newly re-designed Royal Pines.
American drawcard Brandt Snedeker fell off a Segway prior to his first trip to Australia several years ago and may have wished he had never made the trip Down Under this week. Snedeker missed the cut by a whopping nine strokes, thanks largely to his 12-over par opening round.
Defending champion Greg Chalmers will also absent from the weekend golf after making bogey on his final hole and missed the cut by one stroke.