Francesco Molinari set the clubhouse target on a miserable day at Wentworth as Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald’s bid for a third successive BMW PGA Championship title came to a premature end.
Donald went into the second round insisting a hat-trick was not out of the question despite struggling to an opening 78 to lie 12 shots off the lead held, but the world number six could only manage a 72 on another cold and wet day to finish six over par.
That was likely to be at least three shots outside the cut and was 12 behind Molinari, who birdied the 18th to complete a 68 for a six-under halfway total of 138.
Scotland’s Marc Warren was also six under with four holes to play alongside first round leader James Kingston, who was among the later starters.
“I think the last couple of years it’s been very warm and ball’s travelled a lot,” Donald said.
“I’m hitting a lot longer irons into some of these holes this year because of the weather, but bottom line is I didn’t play very well. Nine over through 21 holes is pretty terrible golf really.
“I don’t think it’s a million miles away, though. Sometimes these things are a lot closer than you think. I’ve got some good time coming up with my coach back home and we’ll work on it and get ready for next week and the US Open.
“I’m not too worried. It’s never nice, it’s disappointing to miss a cut, especially here at Wentworth. But I’ll be back. I think failure is a much bigger motivator for me than successes.
Molinari, whose halved match with Tiger Woods at Medinah sealed Europe’s remarkable victory in Chicago, began his second round with a bogey and also dropped shots at the 10th and 16th, but also carded seven birdies on a course where he finished seventh last year.
Molinari, who was born in Turin but is now based in London, said: ``I'm really happy with yesterday and today. The conditions were quite tough but I hit the ball well and the putter is working well so I am really happy at the moment.
“Six under is a good score given the conditions – I live over here now so I am used to it – and I’m in a great position going into the weekend, but it’s a really tough course so anyone six or seven behind is still in it.”
One player certainly not in it is Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter, who carded a second consecutive 76 to finish eight over, but Lee Westwood and Ernie Els - playing alongside Molinari – are only three off the lead on three under after rounds of 71 and 69 respectively.