Wildcard Bjorn determined to keep focus

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SUTTON COLDFIELD, England, Sep 20 (Reuters) Thomas Bjorn's improved form last week in Cologne probably tipped the balance in favour of the Dane as one of Seve Ballesteros's Seve Trophy wildcards.

However, Bjorn is determined to focus on his game this week, rather than results, as he tries to follow up his battling victory attempt in last week's Mercedes Benz Championship by winning the British Masters that starts today.

A 10th European Tour title was in the offing when Bjorn began last Sunday's final round in Cologne tied on top of the leaderboard with compatriot Soren Hansen.

His lengthy layoff when, apart from playing in the US PGA Championship, Bjorn took a seven week break to make swing changes, apparently cost him dear as an early double-bogey and two late bogeys at Gut Larchenhoff relegated him to fourth place.

His immediate return to form, though, has caused Bjorn to raise his sights.

''After seven weeks, to play as well as I did last week was very nice,'' Bjorn told Reuters.

''Suddenly my expectations are high again. Obviously I want to take it into this week. But I want to continue looking at how I'm playing and not focus on results.'' Despite saying last week that he expected to be at friend Ian Poulter's wedding during the Seve Trophy in Ireland next week, Bjorn, who was one of Ballesteros's triumphant 12 against the US in the 1997 Ryder Cup, happily accepted his 'pick' from Ballesteros on Tuesday.

''I've played under Seve for every Seve Trophy and at Valderrama in '97 and he knows what I can do,'' Bjorn said. ''He obviously looked at my result last week and thought maybe I was turning a corner and he wanted me in. I was very pleased to get the phone call.

''I hadn't even been thinking about the Seve Trophy and I'd planned to be at Ian's wedding.'' Bjorn's wife Pernilla will represent him at Poulter's wedding, while Europe take on Nick Faldo's Britain and Ireland.

For the first round at The Belfry, scene of European Ryder Cup successes, Bjorn plays with Briton Lee Westwood who began last week's event with a 61 before succumbing to a cold and finishing sixth in Cologne.

Most of next week's Seve Trophy teams are in the Belfry field.

Reuters BJR DB1015

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