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Gallacher targets a Ryder Cup wild card

By Phil Casey

David Howell helped deny his good friend Stephen Gallacher an automatic Ryder Cup place, but believes it would be a "travesty" if the Scot is not handed a wild card from European captain Paul McGinley.

Gallacher needed to win the Italian Open or finish joint second with just one other player to dislodge Graeme McDowell from the team for Gleneagles.

But despite carding a flawless closing 65 at Circolo Golf Torino, the 39-year-old finished in third place on 17 under, just one shot behind Howell – who fired a superb 63 – in second and three behind South African winner Hennie Otto.

After the year-long qualifying battle, Gallacher finished just 1.61 points behind McDowell, who posted a picture of his new-born daughter on Twitter with the message: "Watched the last few holes of the coverage. If Stevie G had passed me, I was keeping it all in perspective!! #blessed".

Gallacher must hope he has done enough to earn one of McGinley's three wild cards, which will be announced at Wentworth on Tuesday. He lives just 35 miles from Gleneagles and has recorded seven top-10 finishes there in his last 12 appearances.

"It was a tall order but I am proud of myself," Gallacher said. "I'm delighted with 17 under, it's just a little short but there is nothing I can do.

"I wanted to qualify myself just to take away someone else's opinion. There are four or five guys who are worthy (of a wild card) so it's just what Paul sees.

"At the end of the day I haven't done enough. We all had the chance at the start of the year and there are nine guys in the team at the moment who have qualified. There are three picks to come and I just hope that I have done enough to get one.

"I was still trying to win the tournament as well and it was strange knowing that second could do it, but I gave it my best shot and I hope Paul likes what he sees."

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