Italian Open: Stephen Gallacher keeps Ryder Cup hopes alive

Stephen Gallacher at the Italian Open
Gallacher is currently outside the automatic Ryder Cup places, behind Graeme McDowell

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.

RankUSEurope*
* 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
1Bubba WatsonRory McIlroy (NI)
2Rickie FowlerHenrik Stenson (Swe)
3Jim FurykVictor Dubuisson (Fra)
4Jimmy WalkerJamie Donaldson (Wal)
5Phil MickelsonSergio Garcia (Spa)
6Matt KucharThomas Bjorn (Den)
7Jordan SpiethJustin Rose (Eng)
8Patrick ReedMartin Kaymer (Ger)
9Zach JohnsonGraeme McDowell (NI)

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