Walker Cup to Ryder Cup is the goal, says Lewis

Castellon: Youngster Tom Lewis has the golfing world at his feet after a breathtaking Portugal Masters victory and a 2012 Ryder Cup appearance is a definite goal, he said.

After winning his third event as a professional on Sunday, the 20-year-old soared to third on the European points table ahead of next year`s match against United States in Illinois.

"At the moment the Ryder Cup looks do-able," Lewis told reporters on the eve of the Castello Masters.

"But it`s a long campaign. If I do well again this week and carry on doing well then it`s a possibility."

Lewis, who played in Britain and Ireland`s triumphant Walker Cup team against the U.S. last month, is less than 130,000 euros (113,394 pounds) behind Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark who leads the race to be crowned rookie of the year.

A good result in Spain could make Lewis favourite for the Henry Cotton award.

If he does pick up the award he will be following in the footsteps of another English great Nick Faldo, who honed his game at Lewis`s home club of Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire.

Faldo was top rookie in 1977 and went on to chalk up six major victories, a total Lewis is keen to surpass.

"I want to beat Nick`s (major) record. It`s a long way off but I don`t like being second at anything so being second best in our club is not a great feeling," said the youngster.

"It would be great to also win rookie of the year but I`m going to have to finish strongly in my last three or four events."

Heady Days

These are heady days for Lewis, having beaten former world number one Tiger Woods to a first pro victory by two events and matched U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy`s 2007 feat of earning a tour card after just three tournaments.

Castello Masters promoter and pre-event favourite Sergio Garcia won twice soon after turning pro in 1999.

Asked if it would be hard for Lewis to cope with such immediate fame, former world number two Garcia said: "I don`t think it is difficult if you have the right people around you and I`m pretty sure Tom has that.

"But to become a great golfer you have to keep working hard, be humble and believe in your abilities."

Lewis appeared at a news conference with Garcia and the Spaniard`s friend and Wednesday`s pro-am partner, tennis great Rafa Nadal.

"To sit here with Rafa is something I`d never dreamed of," said Lewis. "I`ve only watched him on TV. It`s an honour."

Garcia and defending champion Matteo Manassero, 18, of Italy, who also won in his rookie season last year, will be Lewis`s playing partners when the tournament begins on Thursday.

Bureau Report

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