English game in rude health
English golf has rarely had it so good with Luke Donald top of the world rankings, Lee Westwood third and Justin Rose ninth.
But there is strength in depth too - and it is showing at this week's Reale Seguros Spanish Open in Seville.
Going into the third round on Saturday Simon Dyson and Robert Rock were in joint second place a stroke behind France's Gregory Bourdy, with Danny Willett and Graeme Storm only two back.
Dyson, a Walker Cup team-mate of Donald in 1999, is the reigning Irish and Dutch Open champion and has six European Tour titles to his name.
Rock is just the older of the two - he was 35 last month - but is one of the rising stars of the circuit.
In January he beat Tiger Woods, Donald, Westwood and second-ranked Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi and he is in contention again now following a five-week break.
Both Rock and Dyson could move into a qualifying position for the Ryder Cup by winning tomorrow and, with Ian Poulter and Paul Casey also in the hunt, it is not impossible that more than half of Jose Maria Olazabal's side in September could be English.
Dyson was hoping to pick up where he left off yesterday - with a 12-foot eagle putt.
"It appeared to bobble and I started walking, but it kept going and dropped," said the York golfer, now using a belly putter.
"I switched because I've just not been holing out well. It's harder to get the pace, but I start it on the right line more consistently."
Bourdy's second-round 66, however, was the round of the day by two on a Jose Maria Olazabal-designed lay-out playing really tough because of dense rough and winds gusting to 25mph.
The 30-year-old from Bordeaux, who has not shot lower for six months and has had only one top 10 finish in the past year, commented: "I've just been patient.
"I've not made a score like that for a long time in these conditions. It's good for the confidence."
He can expect a challenge not just from Dyson, Rock, Willett and Storm, but also Italians Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari. They were one and two behind respectively.
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