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Fisher on song in Portugal, hails inspirational Ryder Cup

Britain's Ross Fisher tees off the first hole during the fourth and last round of the Nordea Masters golf tournament at Bro Hof golf club in
Britain's Ross Fisher tees off the first hole during the fourth and last round of the Nordea Masters golf tournament at Bro Hof golf club in

(Reuters) - Briton Ross Fisher fired a six-under 65 in the first round of the Portugal Masters on Thursday and promptly set his sights on qualifying for another Ryder Cup team after missing out on this year's event.

The 31-year-old Englishman, who took a joint one-shot lead in Vilamoura with Scotland's Stephen Gallacher on Thursday, helped Europe win at Celtic Manor in 2010 but was reduced to being a spectator for last month's miraculous comeback win at Medinah.

Despite watching Europe reel in a four-point deficit to beat America 14-1/2 - 13-1/2 from his sofa, he said the team's unexpected success had been a huge moment for him.

"If that doesn't inspire me and all of these other guys to get in the Ryder Cup then you shouldn't be playing the game of golf," Fisher told the European Tour's website (www.europeantour.com).

Fisher said he was more nervous watching than he was while making his debut at the biennial team event two years ago.

"I've experienced it in Wales and it's something that I think - Rory (McIlroy) said it once - you've played in one, you never want to miss another one," Fisher said of his twice-major winning former team mate, now the world number one.

"So that did spur me on to get out and work hard. I think 17th in the world was my best, I'm not there now but I'm working hard and I'm improving, so one step at a time and we'll be back hopefully soon enough."

Fisher, currently ranked 140, has not won for over two years before he secured a berth on Colin Montgomerie's 2010 team in Wales and scored two points from four in Europe's nailbiting one-point triumph.

Europe's captain in Chicago, Jose Maria Olazabal, played with two of his winning team members in Martin Kaymer (69) and Francesco Molinari (71) but struggled to a 75. (Editing by Tom Pilcher)

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