World Number Four Jon Rahm strengthened his bid for a Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National in September following his fourth-placed finish at the Masters Tournament.
The 23 year old Spaniard carded an opening three over par 75 at Augusta National but hit back with rounds of 68-65-69 to finish four shots behind winner Patrick Reed.
Rahm’s excellent week ensures he climbs two places to third position in the European points list, which continues to be led by England’s Tyrrell Hatton with Justin Rose in second place. A third Englishman, Ross Fisher, completes the top four, as he looks to return to the Ryder Cup fold following his debut in Wales eight years ago.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy moves up from fifth position on the World Points List to fourth, as he edges closer to a fifth consecutive appearance in the biennial contest.
Four-time Major winner McIlroy finished tied fifth in the season’s first Major Championship, and he is joined in the automatic qualifying spots by England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who finished tied 17th at Augusta National, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Sweden’s Alex Noren.
The leading four players from both points lists automatically qualify for Thomas Bjørn’s 12-man team, with the Dane then able to select four wildcards.
The qualification campaign this week moves to European soil for the first time in 2018 with Open de España, where Rahm will be able to further underline his Ryder Cup credentials on home soil.