Pieters asks Clarke the question; Dunne heading for Crans after top 10
 Thomas Pieters. Picture: Getty Images

Thomas Pieters. Picture: Getty Images

The most important Irish story was arguably Paul Dunne's second European Tour Top-10 of the season and a crucial move into the Top 110 who retain their cards as well a trip to Crans this week.

But those thinking of Tuesday's wildcard announcements will know that captain Darren Clarke faces some tough phone calls over the next 24 hours after Belgian Thomas Pieters spectacularly birdied the last three holes to win the weather-delayed Made in Denmark and stake his claim.

The  European skipper will name his picks at 12:3pm on Tuesday and while many are speculating that veterans Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer will get the nod alongside US based Scot Russell Knox, Pieters performances over the past two weeks have put the Ulsterman in a difficult position.

Having just missed out on automatic qualification when he finished second in the D+D Czech Masters eight days ago, the 24-year old brilliantly birdied the last three holes at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort for a six under 65 and a one-shot win over Bradley Dredge (67) on 17 under par.

His 168-yard eight iron to three feet at the last set up one of the sweetest birdies of his career, a third European Tour victory and a selection dilemma for Clarke, who may have to choose one between the Belgian, fellow rookie Knox and outside hopes like Luke Donald, Soren Kjeldsen, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry.

Asked if he felt he’d given Clarke a selection headache, Pieters said: “I would say so, yeah.”

Swede Joakim Largergren was neck and neck with Pieters and Dredge coming down the stretch but lost a ball off the tee on the 18th and ended up making a triple bogey seven to finish four behind in fifth.

“It’s a  great feeling,” said Pieters, who began the day tied for second, one behind Dredge. 

“I really needed a good finish. I saw I was one back walking to the green on 16, and I hit a great shot there but I knew I needed to make at least one more, and to finish with two more birdies was pretty cool.

“That eight iron I hit on the last was what you practice for but to stiff it and make the putt, that was satisfying.”

Kaymer, who finished tied for sixth after a 68, knows his fate is in Clarke’s handes but he generously called on the Ulsterman to pick final round playing partner Pieters.

“I've done as much as I could,” Kaymer said. “But at the end of the day the only real satisfaction comes from winning and I haven't quite done that. 

“If I would be the captain, he would be my pick, that's for sure, because he brings something special to the team.

“He hits the ball far and he's very good on short game and obviously he proved that he can play under pressure very well, and he's a nice guy. 

“So if I would be the captain —fortunately I'm not because it's a tough decision— but I would pick Thomas for sure.”

Speaking at his press conference later, Pieters added: “To be honest, I've had enough of it now, all the talk about the Ryder Cup.

“He's got plenty of good players to pick from, so if he doesn't pick me, then so be it, and I'll work my butt off to get there in the next one. 

“But I've done all I can now and I'm just really pleased with this win to be honest.”

Lowry  tied for 24th on five under after a 70 but it was a superb week for Greystones rookie Paul Dunne, who shot 70 to claim a share of 10th on nine under.

Dunne will be disappointed he didn't make even bigger in-roads into the Top 110 in the Race to Dubai but a cheque for €33,360  moves him up 17 places to 105th with €187,816 from 18 start and therefore inside the Top 110 who will retain their cards at the end of the season.

Just importantly, Dunne's Top 10 earned him a spot in the forthcoming Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin (72) tied for 44th on one under, wining €9,720 while Dubliner Peter Lawrie, who was third last starting a final that featured a four-hour weather delay, retired.

On the Challenge Tour, Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan (71) finished tied 26th in the Bridgestone Challenge at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire where Thomas Detry completed a Sunday double for Belgium when he closed with a nine under 63 to win by 12 strokes on 29 under par.

Waterville’s Mark Murphy (71) tied 52nd on five under, one ahead of Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge (76).

Thomas Pieters 65 (-17)

"I really needed a good finish. I saw I was one back walking to the green on 16, and I hit a great shot there but I knew I needed to make at least one more, and to finish with two more birdies was pretty cool.

"Obviously I’m really happy with this win and just the way I won it. I haven't had the chance to have that one-shot lead, because last year I had a two-shot lead and I kind of closed it out before I got to 18.

"Today I had the pressure of needing to make a birdie, and it's wonderful to be in that position because then you'll find out if all the practice pays off, and it did.
"He's (Darren Clarke) got plenty of good players to pick from, so if he doesn't pick me, then so be it, and I'll work my butt off to get there in the next one. But I've done all I can now and I'm just really pleased with this win to be honest."

Bradley Dredge 67 (-16)

"Again, it was good chance to win, and 67 is a decent score out there but at the end of the day, it wasn't overly difficult today. The pins were a bit tricky in places but obviously the double-bogey on the second didn't really help my cause. I came back well but ultimately just fell one short in the end. Thomas did a tremendous job there.

"I'm in good position but I want to win some tournaments. It’s nice to come in second but at the end of the day, want to be holding the trophy at the end of the day. I really enjoy it here. I get on well with the guys and enjoy the golf course, crowds are great, so I'll always be back.

Martin Kaymer 68 (-11)

I'm happy with it but not quite satisfied yet. Obviously we're chasing wins; we're not chasing top tens. I keep saying it, that I'm moving into the right direction. But the end of the day, real satisfaction only comes when you have to hold a speech after Sunday afternoon. So I've put myself in good positions but there's not quite enough there yet to win.
I think I've done as much as I can. In the end of the day, we can speculate as much as we want. Darren, he needs to make a decision and he will make it on Monday or Tuesday and then we will know more. But it would be another great experience of my golfing career, and to play four Ryder Cups in a row would be amazing.

If would be the captain, he (Thomas Pieters) would be my pick, that's for sure, because he brings something special to the team. He hits the ball far and he's very good on short game and obviously he proved that he can play under pressure very well, and he's a nice guy. So if I would be the captain, and fortunately I'm not because it's a tough decision, I would pick Thomas for sure.

Søren Kjeldsen 66 (-10)

It's been great. Obviously it was a little bit of a pity today with the weather. Quite a few people stayed which was nice to see but overall I think the tournament's been a huge success. I think with the music at night, I didn't think it could get any better after last year, but they managed to pull it off.
I thought this week was definitely better than the last three weeks I've played. A lot of positive stuff. Yeah, overall, I'm very happy.
I don't know (about Ryder Cup captains picks). I try not to speculate too much. I've given my everything. That's all I can ask and then it's up to the captain to decide.

Final scores

267 T Pieters (Bel) 62 71 69 65,

268 B Dredge (Wal) 63 66 72 67,

269 D Lipsky (USA) 65 70 67 67, A Otaegui (Esp) 68 66 68 67,

271 J Lagergren (Swe) 62 70 71 68,

273 J Van Zyl (RSA) 67 75 66 65, M Kaymer (Ger) 69 70 66 68,

274 R Gouveia (Por) 69 67 69 69, S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 67 73 66,

275 R Sterne (RSA) 66 67 73 69, M Lundberg (Swe) 71 69 69 66, P Dunne (Irl) 68 68 69 70,

276 T Aiken (RSA) 68 67 74 67, B Hebert (Fra) 70 72 68 66,

277 R Coles (Eng) 69 71 71 66, P Lawrie (Sco) 70 66 72 69, R Karlsson (Swe) 69 70 69 69,

278 R Paratore (Ita) 73 70 67 68, J Winther (Den) 68 67 73 70, M Haastrup (Den) 69 73 66 70, D Brooks (Eng) 67 70 71 70, Y Yang (Kor) 72 68 69 69, C Hanson (Eng) 69 69 69 71,

279 S Lowry (Irl) 75 65 69 70, R Evans (Eng) 73 68 69 69,

280 R Ramsay (Sco) 67 69 73 71, J Kruger (RSA) 71 66 73 70, S Cappelen (Den) 72 71 69 68, T Lewis (Eng) 62 72 75 71, O Wilson (Eng) 70 65 75 70, D Burmester (RSA) 70 73 68 69, O Lindell (Fin) 71 72 70 67, E Molinari (Ita) 70 68 69 73,

281 L Canter (Eng) 70 70 70 71, G Murray (Sco) 70 67 74 70, J Singh (Ind) 66 72 71 72, T Van Der Walt (RSA) 68 72 72 69, P Edberg (Swe) 69 72 71 69, C Paisley (Eng) 67 71 73 70,

282 K Broberg (Swe) 69 67 75 71, J Morrison (Eng) 67 73 74 68, S Benson (Eng) 67 72 76 67, J Axelsen (am) (Den) 71 70 67 74,

283 D Drysdale (Sco) 69 73 72 69, C Sharvin (Nir) 72 70 69 72, B Evans (Eng) 71 71 70 71, J Donaldson (Wal) 68 72 74 69, T Linard (Fra) 69 74 69 71, C Lee (Sco) 72 69 70 72,

284 S Gallacher (Sco) 70 70 74 70, J Roos (RSA) 65 72 74 73, M Southgate (Eng) 69 72 76 67, L Haotong (Chn) 67 69 75 73, R Green (Aus) 73 70 72 69,

285 J Knutzon (USA) 67 73 71 74, M Baldwin (Eng) 71 69 69 76,

286 S Jamieson (Sco) 65 78 72 71, K Ferrie (Eng) 68 75 74 69, S Manley (Wal) 73 70 70 73,

287 C Aronsen (Nor) 69 70 74 74,

288 S Dyson (Eng) 67 74 75 72, J Walters (RSA) 70 72 70 76,

289 P Peterson (USA) 72 69 71 77, L Bjerregaard (Den) 69 74 77 69,

290 B Virto (Esp) 69 72 75 74, S Webster (Eng) 68 75 76 71,

291 C Costilla (Arg) 67 75 76 73, D Im (USA) 73 68 74 76, D Løkke (Den) 71 71 74 75

293 D Dixon (Eng) 74 69 75 75,301 G Storm (Eng) 70 73 82 76.

MC 

147 D Clarke (Nir) 76 71

149 M Hoey (Nir) 73 76

154 G Hurley (Irl) 69 85

RT P Lawrie (Irl) 72 70 79