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Howell targets Ryder Cup spot

ESPN staff
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Howell and Stenson played together at the 2006 Ryder Cup, before both fell outside the world's top 200 © Getty Images
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David Howell has set his sights on the Ryder Cup after ending his seven-year wait for a title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The Englishman, who played in the victorious European teams of 2004 and 2006, carded a final-round 67 to force a sudden-death play-off with young American Peter Uihlein, which he won with a birdie at the second hole.

After winning the BMW International Open, the inaugural HSBC Champions and the BMW Championship in a purple patch between August 2005 and May 2006, Howell moved into the world top 10 for the first time before a horrendous slump in form saw him fall outside the top 200.

But the 38-year-old's win at St Andrews on Sunday moves him back inside the top 100, and Howell admits he has used Henrik Stenson's recent career revival as inspiration, as well as targeting a spot in Paul McGinley's team at Gleneagles next September.

"I'm certainly aware of how Henrik has turned things around," Howell, citing Stenson's two-year rise from world No. 230 to FedEx Cup champion, said. "He's now better than ever and that's what I'm working towards.

"Why can't the next 10 years be the best of my career?

"I'd love to play in another Ryder Cup and you can't get into teams without winning tournaments and playing in the big events. That's what makes a victory like this so important."

Howell, who moves up to 94th in the rankings and back inside the top 100 for the first time since September 2007, added: "It's a dream to be back in the big time. It's been a long, long road from the depths of despair to get here today.

"I wasn't a happy camper. I made some poor decisions and took a while to sort through them. You can't do your job if you're not happy and I certainly didn't help my cause."

World Rankings: 1 Tiger Woods, 2 Adam Scott, 3 Phil Mickelson, 4 Henrik Stenson, 5 Justin Rose, 6 Rory McIlroy, 7 Steve Stricker, 8 Matt Kuchar, 9 Brandt Snedeker, 10 Jason Dufner, 11 Zach Johnson, 12 Graeme McDowell, 13 Jim Furyk, 14 Luke Donald, 15, Keegan Bradley, 16 Jason Day, 17 Sergio Garcia, 18 Lee Westwood, 19 Charl Schwartzel, 20 Ian Poulter

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