Stephen Gallacher fails in Ryder Cup quest

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Stephen Gallacher has failed to automatically qualify for a Ryder Cup spot as he finished third at the Italian Open.

The Scot needed a top two finish to move ahead of Graeme McDowell who occupied the ninth and final automatic place but he narrowly missed out, eventually finishing third.

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Gallacher was just one shot away from having a share of second which would have been enough for him book a place in next month's event at Gleneagles. An impressive final round 65 wasn't quite enough as he finished behind winner Hennie Otto and David Howell.


He is now relying on captain Paul McGinley in the hope he has done enough to earn one of his three wildcard selections which will be announced on Tuesday.

Gallacher knew it was always going to be a tough ask to finish in the top two but was pleased with his performance over the four days.

Tall order

“It was a tall order to finish first or second – I’ve only had a couple of them in a year. But I’m proud of myself and the way I played,” Gallacher told Sky Sports.

He is now aware that his Ryder Cup fate rests with McGinley and knows there is plenty of competition for a wildcard place.

“It comes down to someone else’s opinion. I wanted to qualify myself to take that away. There are four or five guys that are worthy of it, it just depends what Paul sees.”

Gallacher began the day in sixth, four shots adrift of leader Otto and knew he had a tough task to finish in the top two. But after only needing 30 shots to complete his front nine he was soon occupying second place on 16-under par for the tournament.

Close call

It seemed as though the Scot would push on and cement his Ryder Cup spot but Howell had other ideas. The Englishman, who played in the the Ryder Cup himself in 2004 and 2006, went one clear of Gallacher after he sank a long-range putt on 15.

Gallacher was unable to peg Howell back with his round finishing with six consecutive pars. As he stood on the 18th hole he knew a birdie would see him secure a Ryder Cup place. But after his tee shot found the rough, and his second found a bunker, he realised his chances of an automatic place were over. He still managed to save par to ensure his round stayed bogey free.

Howell hoping

Howell carded a superb round of 63 to pip Gallacher to second but hopes to see the Scot compete at Gleneagles next month.

“I really hope Stephen gets a pick,” Howell said.

“He’d make a fantastic Ryder Cup player. If a captain needs any nudge to realise that someone is in form and can play well under pressure then Stephen has done it over this weekend.”

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