England’s Simon Dyson and Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez were locked in a desperate battle to make Europe’s Ryder Cup team on Friday.
Both Dyson and Jimenez were six under par at the halfway stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship, three shots off the lead held by David Lynn, Gary Boyd and Julien Guerrier.
With Europe team skipper Colin Montgomerie scheduled to name his team for October’s Ryder Cup clash against the US today, only two rounds remain for claims to be staked.
“If I play the best 36 holes of my life, I’ll play in the best tournament of my life,” said the 32-year-old Dyson, after a second-round 70 kept him in joint-seventh place.
However, the wily Jimenez will keep Dyson out of the team if he finishes in the top nine today and he carded a 68 on Friday to also be six under par at halfway.
There are two remaining guaranteed spots in the Europe squad to be decided as well as three wild cards.
The fight for the places is also being conducted in the US, where Padraig Harrington was four shots off the lead at The Barclays in New Jersey with Tiger Woods the joint first-round leader.
Ireland’s Harrington is believed to be a certainty to wrap up one of the captain’s picks while Paul Casey and Luke Donald, both also playing in the US, are favorites for the others.
With Alvaro Quiros just squeezing through the cut on one under par, Dyson looks like the only threat to Jimenez and Peter Hanson.
Swede Hanson won last week’s Czech Open to move into eighth place on the points table and he was also six under at halfway on Friday.
RAIN GO AWAY
Dyson felt unlucky that a rainstorm came while he was on the 320-yard 14th hole.
“The easiest hole on the course became a tough one,” he said. “I struggled with distance with my irons, but I missed only one fairway and my putting held my score together for the first few holes.”
“I know what I’ve got to do and I’ll just give it a go. If I’m three behind even with nine holes to go I still fancy my chances,” he said.
Playing partner Hanson birdied the last three holes for his second successive 69 and a 43rd-place finish for him puts him in the Ryder Cup side regardless of what anybody else does.
Jimenez birdied three of the first four holes, but it was only when he birdied the par five last — like Dyson — that he moved to four under for the day.