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Jamie Donaldson targets another victory in Omega European Masters

Updated: Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 15:58 | Comments

Jamie Donaldson won the Czech Masters last month
Jamie Donaldson won the Czech Masters last month

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Wales' Jamie Donaldson is targeting back-to-back victories after enjoying the luxury of sitting out the dramatic finale to Ryder Cup qualifying last week.

Donaldson secured his place on Paul McGinley's team for Gleneagles in impressive fashion by claiming his third European Tour title in the Czech Masters, the penultimate counting event.

The 38-year-old was therefore able to sit back and watch as Stephen Gallacher came agonisingly close to making sure of his own cup debut in the Italian Open, with the Scot then named alongside Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as McGinley's three wild cards.

"The Czech Masters was a great week for me on many levels," Donaldson said ahead of the Omega European Masters in Crans Montana in Switzerland.

"It was fantastic to confirm my place in the Ryder Cup team and also a great win to add to my resume. I've had a week at home with my feet up to recharge the batteries, so I'm raring to go again.

"It's massive (to be on the team). It's something I've always aspired to and I've played well all season so it's something I feel I've earned. My form has been building year on year and the Czech Masters was so important not just in securing my place in the team, but going into the Ryder Cup with my confidence on a high. Winning is what it's all about, so getting another one on the board was crucial for me.

"The team looks very strong. Westwood and Poulter's records speak for themselves and Stevie's been playing some great golf for the past two years. He needed to play well in Italy and that's what he did, so he proved himself in the captain's eyes.

"I'm not sure we'd necessarily be favourites, but the Americans will have to play very well to beat us. The team has got to bond well and I'm sure we will."

In fact Europe are odds-on favourites to lift the trophy for the eighth time in 10 attempts, with Donaldson joined in the picturesque Swiss mountains by team-mates Thomas Bjorn and Victor Dubuisson and newly-announced vice-captains Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal.

"It's great to be back in Crans as always and I'm really excited about the week," Donaldson added. "I love coming back, you never get tired of the scenery. It's one of the first European Tour events I played as sponsor's invitation back in 2001, so it definitely holds some special memories for me. And I've got a pretty decent record here, which always helps."

Bjorn admits Europe have to be wary of their tag as favourites, with the last two contests both decided by a single point.

"Everyone has us down as big favourites, but there is a big danger that we start believing it," said Bjorn, this week's defending champion, who is looking to emulate the late Seve Ballesteros by winning the Swiss event for a third time.

"We've got an extremely strong team, but when I look at the American team they're no slouches and most of them have been playing very good golf lately. So I'd be very surprised if it doesn't come down to the last few matches on Sunday afternoon again."

Bjorn's last appearance came in the contest came in 2002 - he also played in 1997 - and the 43-year-old admits he thought his playing days might have gone.

"I felt like I had a chance of making the team in 2012, but having missed out I thought that would probably be my last chance to play in the Ryder Cup," he added. "But here I am, two years on, and about to play in my third Ryder Cup.

"It's a big privilege to be part of a team which, on paper, is one of the strongest we've ever had. Paul has been a great friend of mine for many years, so to play under him will be a real honour for me and the rest of the guys as well. It's going to be a great experience."

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