West Midlands interest in the race for the Ryder Cup hotted up yesterday as John Bickerton climbed into contention by winning the French Open in Paris.
The 36-year-old Droitwich golfer, based in Germany, held off New Zealander Michael Campbell and Ireland's Padraig Harrington to finish on 11-under-par and pocket the winners' cheque for #458,000.
He had been 29th in the European Ryder Cup points list - courtesy of his second-place at the Andalucia Open in April - but the second victory of Bickerton's career catapulted him up to tenth place.
He was only prevented from climbing higher by Harrington's second-place finish - the 22nd of his European Tour career - and, on the current standings, would be in Ian Woosnam's team to face the United States at the K Club in September.
Paul Broadhurst, the Atherstone golfer who finished joint-12th yesterday after a closing 67, is already firmly in contention for a place in the European team.
There was further good news for Bickerton as victory secured him a place in the field for the Open Championship at Hoylake, starting on July 20.
The two other Midlanders to play all four rounds in Paris had contrasting fortunes yesterday. Atherstone's Steve Webster recorded his third 72 of the tournament and finished three-over par while Hereford's David Park suffered an ugly end to his week in France.
Having been handily-placed at six-under on Saturday evening, Park gave it all back and more, shooting six bogeys and two double-bogeys in a round of 79.