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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 14:11 GMT
Dougherty eyes Ryder Cup spot
By Alistair Magowan

Nick Dougherty
Dougherty currently sits 10th in the Ryder Cup placings
Nick Dougherty has hailed a "breakthrough" year for putting him into contention for the Ryder Cup.

The 23-year-old Liverpudlian finished joint third in the Champions Tournament after earning his maiden win in the Singapore Masters last January.

He told BBC Sport: "I've changed my work ethic and my general discipline and it's helped me a lot."

"It's been a breakthrough year and it's put me in great position to attack to get into the Ryder Cup team."

Dougherty is currently 10th in the Ryder Cup placings but recognises that he has to improve further if he wants to make it to Ireland.

He said: "It's a tall order to make that team but I've made a good start and currently I'm in it, so I'm not in bad shape.

Nick Dougherty facts
Born: 24 May 1982, Liverpool
Turned pro: 2001
2005 achievements: Wins Singapore Masters; Finishes 15th on order of Merit; Makes major debuts at US Open and US PGA; Earns 1.05m Euro

"I need to up my level again. If I play like I did again this year I don't think I'll do it but I really believe I can.

"If I can play to my potential then I'm certainly good enough to make the team."

Dougherty's year was forged on his win in Singapore where he held off the challenge of Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn.

But he followed that up with six top-six finishes to earn over a million Euro in a season which finally laid to rest his "party animal" tag.

He said: "My first win was a definite win and I did it in style. It was a fantastic start to the season and I carried it on from there.

"At the same time I spoke to my mind guru the other day and I found there were so many things I want to improve, so it gives me a lot of enthusiasm to attack next year and achieve so much more again.

"It's been a chain reaction. The fact that I've been more professional rather than enjoying the fact that I'm a young lad that's got a bit of cash has made me more focussed, which makes me play better.

"I was very fortunate that I changed my swing, did work on my mind and fitness and I got rewards fairly quickly."

And after finishing 15th on the Order of Merit, he can now look forward to opening his Open Championship account.

"It's slightly ironic that I've played two majors and they've both been in the States," he said.

"I'm delighted to be playing in my first Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. It couldn't be a better one for me in my home city and I'm very excited about it."

Nick Dougherty's chip and run challenge

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