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Molinari states his Ryder Cup case
28 Aug 2014 21:09
Stephen Gallacher is the only player who controls his Ryder Cup destiny, but it was Francesco Molinari who did most to boost his chances of making the European team in the Italian Open.
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On the course where he started playing golf aged eight, Molinari carded a flawless six-under-par 66 at Circolo Golf Torino to share the lead with Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.
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And that meant Gallacher, who needs to finish in the top two to overtake Graeme McDowell and claim the final automatic qualifying place, found himself six shots off the pace following an erratic opening 72.
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Ireland's Gareth Maybin may be outside of the Ryder Cup reckoning but he impressed mightily with his round of 66 to leave him just one off the pace.
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European captain Paul McGinley, who carded a 73, admitted Molinari is "very much in my mind" for one of the three wild cards he will announce on Tuesday, with the man himself thinking he needs to win on Sunday to make a third consecutive cup appearance at Gleneagles next month.
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"I had a chat with Paul when he got here and I think the good thing is that he knows what I can bring to the team because he has seen me as vice-captain on the last two teams," said Molinari, whose halved match with Tiger Woods at Medinah in 2012 ensured Europe won outright for the seventh time in the last nine contests.
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"But it's up to me to prove that I really want it and am playing well enough. I think anything less than a win would not be enough so I have to aim for that."
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Damien McGrane shot a 71 to finish on one under, while Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke are level par.
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Simon Thornton was one over, and Peter Lawrie and David Higgins both shot disappointing 78s.
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