Fitzpatrick secures spot on Euro Ryder Cup team

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Matthew Fitzpatrick of England nailed down the ninth and final automatic spot for Europe in the Ryder Cup on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick finished fifth in the Czech Masters, giving him enough world points that no one can catch him when European qualifying ends next week in Denmark.

Thomas Pieters of Belgium, who finished fourth last week at the Olympics, could have earned a spot by winning the Czech Masters and in Denmark. But he finished one shot behind Paul Peterson, who birdied the last hole Sunday for his first European Tour victory.

That gives Darren Clarke one extra week to start contemplating his captain's picks.

Europe takes four players from a European Tour money list, followed by five from a list of world ranking points.

Rory McIlroy, Masters champion Danny Willett, Open champion Henrik Stenson and Chris Wood earned spots through the money list. Making the team through the world points were Sergio Garcia, Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan and Fitzpatrick.

Europe already has five Ryder Cup rookies - Willett, Wood, Cabrera Bello, Sullivan and Fitzpatrick. Clarke likely will look for experience in players such as Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood.

Clarke is scheduled to announce his three picks on Aug. 29 after the Denmark event. Among those who Clarke might consider are Pieters and Russell Knox.

After his fourth-place finish in Rio, Pieters flew back to Europe and nearly defended his title in the Czech Masters.

Knox, who has played exclusively in America since leaving Scotland to attend college in Jacksonville, Florida, did not join the European Tour until after he won a World Golf Championship at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. Those 66 world points did not count in the standings; otherwise, Knox would be leading the world points list and be on the team. He won his second PGA Tour event earlier this month at the Travelers Championship.

He is No. 19 in the world and No. 4 in the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. The Barclays next week, one of the strongest fields of the year, does not count toward the European world points list.

Also high in the standings for Europe are Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark and Tyrrell Hatton of England.