Brits Lee Slattery, Graeme Storm, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are among golfers to have made fast start towards qualification for the 2016 Ryder Cup team

The 12-month qualification campaign for the 2016 European Ryder Cup team is only a month old – it has barely begun – yet each tournament is laced with added significance for every tour golfer with a European passport.

Victory in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has catapulted Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen to the top of the European points list and second on the World list, while a string of British golfers are also making a strong early showing for qualification. (The first four golfers for the European team qualify from the European list, the next five come from the World list, leaving skipper Darren Clarke with three wildcard picks for his 12-man team.)

Englishman Lee Slattery, 37, claimed the second European Tour victory of his career in the M2M Russian Open – the first qualifying tournament for the 2016 Ryder Cup team – and followed up with a runner-up finish at the KLM Open. Slattery could hardly have timed the best form of his stop-start career any better, to be placed second on the European points list and third on the World points list this week.

Italian Open champion, Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, sits third on the European points list, with KLM Open winner, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, positioned fourth.

England’s Graeme Storm has been flying beneath the radar in 2015, yet the 37-year-old from Hartlepool posted his best result of the year at the European Open in Germany two weeks ago to soar up to 5th place on the European list and eighth on the World list.

British presence near the top of the Ryder Cup rankings is boosted by Justin Rose (fourth on World List) and Rory McIlroy (sixth on World List) after strong finishes to the PGA Tour season from both these major winners, while the World list is head by Sweden’s in-form Henrik Stenson.

Golfers like Stenson, Rose and McIlroy are the ones you can expect to hover near the top of the World list, but the intrigue of who else can stay the distance is gaining momentum.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is Official Partner of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship