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Jamie Donaldson retains Czech Masters lead

Updated: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 18:49 | Comments

Jamie Donaldson currently holds the eighth of nine automatic places for the Ryder Cup team
Jamie Donaldson currently holds the eighth of nine automatic places for the Ryder Cup team

Jamie Donaldson remained on course to secure his place in the European Ryder Cup team with a 69 in the second round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters.

The Welshman held the overnight lead after shooting a 66 on the first day and he maintained a one-shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard on nine under at the halfway point of the tournament.

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy was a shot behind Donaldson on eight under after firing a 67, with Englishmen Lee Slattery, Tommy Fleetwood and Garrick Porteous and American John Hahn alongside Gallacher a further shot back.

Kevin Phelan shot a 69 to end on three under par, while Damien McGrane is one under after a 70.

Peter Lawrie and Gareth Maybin both carded second-consecutive level-par rounds to make the cut.

Ruaidhri McGee and Simon Thornton were best of the Irish contingent after day one but both missed the cut by one shot on one over, while David Higgins will also miss the weekend action. 

Donaldson currently holds the eighth of nine automatic places for the team in Gleneagles due to his position on the world points list, but he is the only person who can still qualify via the European list as well.

"You've got to make as many birdies as possible and contend to win the tournament"

To do that he needs a combined winning haul of just under €30,000 in the Czech Republic and in Italy next week, with a win in Prague netting the victor €166,660.

And qualification via the European places would give the 38-year-old some breathing space, with Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter - all in action at the Barclays in New Jersey this week - and Stephen Gallacher battling it out for a place via the world list.

"It's there," Donaldson told Sky Sports 4 when asked about the Ryder Cup. "It's been there for a while but this is just another week where you're out there just playing as well as you can. You've got to make as many birdies as possible and contend to win the tournament.

"There are those things to play for no matter whether you're at the top of the Order of Merit (Race to Dubai) or the bottom, those things are in the back of your mind that you know you've got to play well to get into.

"It's there but it's just another event where you're competing to play as well as you can and win the tournament."

Gallacher, who is relying on world points to make Paul McGinley's team, did his chances no harm either with a second-round 67 which left him just two shots behind Donaldson, and the Scot admits he is desperate to tee it up on home soil.

"It's the down time when you tend to think about it," he said.

"When you fly into Edinburgh airport and there's a sign 100 foot by 100 foot and you live half an hour from it.

"You know it's there, you've been trying all year to get into it, so it's just a case of trying to do well the next two weeks and see it through."

Starting on the back nine, Donaldson birdied the 12th but gave the shot straight back before picking up another on 17.

Further birdies followed on one, three, four and six before two bogeys took the shine off the round.

"It was there for the taking today," he said. "Overall it was a low-scoring day and for a time there there were a lot of birdies to be made and we made a fair few."

Gallacher, playing in the same group, was one over for the day after eight holes but then recorded five birdies in a row from the 18th to the fourth and picked up a further stroke on seven.

"I kind of slipped up a little bit on the front nine," he said. "The birdie at 18 was a big one for me and then I had four on the spin (which) got me back in it."

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