Nicolas Colsaerts made a good opening statement in the final tournament to earn a spot on the European Ryder Cup team.
The Belgian shot 3-under 69 at Gleneagles, site of the 2014 matches, to get into contention on Day 1 of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
Colsaerts can make the team on points if he finishes better than a three-way tie for second place. He would supplant Martin Kaymer for the last of 10 automatic spots determined after the conclusion in Scotland. Even if Colsaerts fails to finish that well, he is a contender for one of two wild-card selections captain Jose Maria Olazabal will make on Sunday.
"Obviously the big goal is to play," Colsaerts said. "But if I can get myself into the team automatically it would be a big boost."
The European Tour leader in driving distance at 317 yards, Colsaerts would be an asset at lengthy Medinah, site of this year's Ryder Cup. That possibility, however, is a thought Colsaerts is trying to resist.
"There is still a long way to go so I should really not be discussing the Ryder Cup," he added. "But you would have to invent a word to describe how much I want to do it. Out on the course it was going through my head every 10 minutes."