Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Molinari focused on Ryder Cup

Francesco Molinari (right) is keen to be part of the Ryder Cup again
Francesco Molinari (right) is keen to be part of the Ryder Cup again

There is less than a week to go to the Open Championship, but Italian Francesco Molinari insists he is thinking more about the Ryder Cup right now.

A dazzling first round 62 - 10 under par - at the Scottish Open has given Molinari the chance to leap all the way from 10th to second in the cup race this weekend. The 29-year-old was a member of Colin Montgomerie's side at Celtic Manor two years ago, but has not forgotten he contributed only one half-point to the nail-biting victory.

"The main goal that I have in mind is to make the team," he said.

"Obviously it would be even better to make the team winning The Open or whatever other tournament I can on the way, but that's the aim at the moment. I think once you've played in one it's so good that you want to do anything you can to get back on the team.

"I played three matches last time, so my record is not the best. I would like to go back there and try to improve that."

After his course record performance - also the joint best round of his European Tour career and the lowest start to an event this season - Molinari led by two overnight from Spaniard Alejandro Canizares.

The son of former cup hero Jose Maria, Canizares was only one under par at the turn, but came home in 29 and finished with six straight birdies.

Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin stood joint third after 65s, but not all the big guns joined in on a day of spectacular scoring.

While world number one and defending champion Luke Donald did fine with a 67 - he was actually seven under with five to go, however, then had two bogeys - but Phil Mickelson and Paul Lawrie were down in 123rd spot after one over par rounds of 73.

Mickelson pulled out of a trip with his family to the Vatican to play, but needs to climb into the top 65 just to survive the cut. Asked if he was hoping for divine intervention the American replied: "I'm not a fan of that. I think everybody is looked on equally and you have to make your own destiny."

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