Harrington books Cup place, McGinley disappointed in Munich

Padraig Harrington today became the eighth member of the European Ryder Cup team – but not in a way that gave him any great pleasure.

Padraig Harrington today became the eighth member of the European Ryder Cup team – but not in a way that gave him any great pleasure.

Harrington was sure of his place in the first match on Irish soil with fellow Dubliner and close friend Paul McGinley crashing out of the BMW International Open in Munich.

McGinley, 10th in the points race, now faces an anxious wait over the weekend to see if he will be at the K Club as well in three weeks’ time.

Turning in 34 gave him hope of recovering from an opening 75, but he then dropped four shots in the space of four holes. He was five over and, with the halfway cut expected at one under, that effectively was that.

However, the 2002 match-winning hero, who was unbeaten in the Detroit victory two years ago, is still looking good to earn a third cap.

Should Colin Montgomerie finish in the top 47 on Sunday – an opening 70 left him 24th – McGinley should be safe. And even if that does not happen Paul Broadhurst would have to finish in the top three, Johan Edfors first or second or John Bickerton first and none of those looked likely.

Broadhurst was only one under with one to play, seven adrift of leader Alejandro Canizares, and midway through the day’s play was in a tie for 53rd position.

Edfors and Bickerton were only just starting their second rounds, but were only level par and one over respectively.

McGinley’s main worry should be his form. He was fourth in the cup standings after ending last season with victory in the Volvo Masters, but has had only one top-10 finish since January and is only 59th on the Order of Merit.

Harrington, meanwhile, moved to five under and into a tie for seventh spot. He can now relax in the knowledge that nothing can stop him being part of what will be one of the biggest sporting events ever staged in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Lee Westwood overcame the worst possible start – not just a double bogey, but a broken driver as well – to keep alive his hopes of clinching a Ryder Cup wild card with his first win for three years.

Westwood, suffering from suspected tonsilitis and also being monitored for fatigue, hooked his opening drive into a ditch and then saw the reason why.

The driver had a hairline crack on the head and so on the next hole the former European number one asked a rules official to bring him a replacement from his locker.

“What else can go wrong?” asked Westwood, but he then covered the next 14 holes in three under and was alongside Harrington.

He and Darren Clarke are expected to be the two choices of European captain Ian Woosnam on Sunday evening.

Swede Peter Hedblom had charged into a three-stroke advantage at the start of the day, but then fell back. Welshman Bradley Dredge and Swede Fredrik Widmark had a time on top of the leaderboard as well, but each had triple-bogeys on the fourth.

That handed pole position to Canizares, son of former Ryder Cup player Jose-Maria and winner of the Russian Open only two weeks ago.

Harrington joins David Howell, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Colin Mongomerie and uncapped pair Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson in clinching his place on Woosnam’s team.

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