While the US Ryder Cup team may already have been decided earlier this week, Europe’s best male golfers continue to scrap away for vital points as they look to secure their place in the biennial competition taking place later this month at Marco Simone.
This week’s European Masters offers the last chance for such players to gain points, with a number of golfers in contention for a Captain’s pick and the final automatic spot from the European points list.
Heading into the week, that spot was held by Robert MacIntyre, and the Scot received his fair share of a good break as he battled away to make the cut in the second round.
Well into his back nine, MacIntyre’s drive on the 14th flew right off the tee, with the ball seemingly destined for the out-of-bounds fence beyond the rough. Yet, in a huge break of good fortune, his ball bounced around before flying back out into the light rough.
“No. No! Get lucky, get lucky!” The golfing gods are with you @robert1lefty. #OEM2023 pic.twitter.com/GnzjemimDjSeptember 1, 2023
From there, MacIntyre was able to make par on the par-five, before navigating the final few holes in even-par to make the cut on the number at -3. That vital break may well be the key difference between him making his Ryder Cup debut later this month or watching from the sidelines.
The Scot, however, does still have a battle on his hands to maintain his automatic spot in the rankings after the impressive second-round performance of Adrian Meronk. The Pole surged up the leaderboard after a six-under-par 64 and will start the weekend inside the top five.
It could have been even better had it not been for been for a bogey-double bogey finish from the reigning Italian Open champion, but the 30-year-old still remains within touching distance of usurping MacIntyre into the final automatic spot.
Elsewhere on the leaderboard, 36-hole leader Matt Fitzpatrick could well rise above Tommy Fleetwood to secure the final automatic spot from the World Points list, although it’s highly likely that both will be part of Luke Donald’s 12-man team regardless.
The real battle could come for the final captain’s pick with Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard making…