Italian Open: Stephen Gallacher keeps Ryder Cup hopes alive
Stephen Gallacher kept his outside hopes of making the Ryder Cup alive with a fine 65 in the second round at the Italian Open, led by Hennie Otto.
The Scotsman needs a top-two finish in Turin to overtake Graeme McDowell in Europe's final automatic qualification spot for September's Ryder Cup.
At seven-under par, he is five shots behind second-placed Bernd Wiesberger.
"There are two more rounds and a lot can happen," he said. "To be in with a shout on Sunday is all you can ask."
South African Otto had earlier shot a 62 to establish a three-shot lead over Austrian Wiesberger.
Gallacher, 39, had shot a level-par 72 on Thursday to leave him 15 shots back - and 12 off second - going into his second round, but he managed an eagle and seven birdies in Friday's round, six of them coming in a back nine of 30.
"It would be nice to follow it up with more of the same," said Gallacher. "I knew I had to go low at some stage and I'm just delighted to get on a run on the back nine.
"I don't think I could say on air what I was thinking when I saw the leaderboard at lunch. It was a strange feeling. I was looking at the guy who was second to be honest, to try and catch him up a bit, and a couple more 65s at the weekend and we will see what happens."
Italian Francesco Molinari had boosted his hopes of securing a wild card place in Paul McGinley's team with a 66 on Thursday but could only follow that up with a 72.
|* US top nine confirmed, with three wildcards to be named on 3 September * Europe's nine automatic qualifiers confirmed after Italian Open on Sunday *European captain Paul McGinley to pick three wildcards on 2 September|
|1||Bubba Watson||Rory McIlroy (NI)|
|2||Rickie Fowler||Henrik Stenson (Swe)|
|3||Jim Furyk||Victor Dubuisson (Fra)|
|4||Jimmy Walker||Jamie Donaldson (Wal)|
|5||Phil Mickelson||Sergio Garcia (Spa)|
|6||Matt Kuchar||Thomas Bjorn (Den)|
|7||Jordan Spieth||Justin Rose (Eng)|
|8||Patrick Reed||Martin Kaymer (Ger)|
|9||Zach Johnson||Graeme McDowell (NI)|