DERRY Hill’s Jordan Smith has set lofty ambitions for his 2018 season as he hopes to reach “the pinnacle” by being named on Europe’s Ryder Cup team later in the year. After a stellar debut season on the European Tour last year, Wiltshire golfer Smith has set his sights on being one of 12 players selected for Thomas Bjorn’s European team at the biennial competition in September, which this year takes place at Le Golf National in Paris.

In his first season in golf’s top flight, the 25-year-old was able to record a maiden tour win, at the European Open in Germany back in July, as well as three further top-10 finishes.

Although a Ryder Cup debut remains the aspiration for Smith, the Bowood professional is keen not to become too bogged down by goals he has set.

“I haven’t set too many targets, as such,” said Smith.

“Obviously, the main target is to try and get on the Ryder Cup team, that is the pinnacle.

“That is the main goal but I’m not going to put too much pressure on it. I just want to try and let it happen and if it does happen, then great.

“I definitely feel like I have a chance but I know it is going to be tough. I need to have a good year, although I must have got on the radar for Thomas Bjorn to keep an eye on me.

“I have just got to keep on doing what I am doing and hope that I have another good year.”

Over the winter, Smith revealed he took an extended break in order to recover fully from glandular fever, as well as the hectic schedule he had come up against.

However, his illness did not prevent him from looking at his game and admits there is still plenty of work for him to, although he doesn’t believe wholesale changes are needed.

“It was mainly about rest over the winter break but I had meetings with my coach, my caddy, my fitness trainer, my manager and my dad to look back at the year,” he said.

“We sorted out what we needed to improve for this year, but all in all, we want to push on from how well last year went.

“I want to do more of the same, I don’t need to change too much. I just need to sharpen up on a few areas and push on.

“I guess there is a bit more pressure on me after last year but I had that last year anyway, coming up from the Challenge Tour.

“I am going to go out there and not put any pressure on myself. I will let it happen and just go to enjoy it.”

Smith has made two cuts from his four European Tour events of the 2018 season so far, with a best finish of tied 61st at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last month.

After a week off, Smith returns to action at the Oman Open this morning, teeing off his first round at 8.15am GMT.