Saturday 21 April 2018

Tour has faith in Monty's Ryder decisions -- Lawrie

"But then at the end of the day, Monty can pick whoever he likes," Lawrie continued. "Looking at the leaderboard at this stage of the tournament, he could pick Richard Finch, Robert Rock and David Lynn.

"So it's up to him and the Tour in general puts its faith in Monty as captain, and then in the bigger picture the European Tour wants to win back the Ryder Cup.

"It just seems to be a big financial benefit to the Tour to have the Ryder Cup sitting in the trophy cabinet at Wentworth."

However, the make-up of Monty's team is a little clearer with Italy's Francesco Molinari now assured of automatic selection following the withdrawal of England's Ross McGowan from the Johnnie Walker due to a shoulder injury.

McGowan, who withdrew after a 77, was lying three places away in 12th place on the points table and said he felt "gutted" to miss out on selection after having been among the automatic qualifiers for much of the past year.

In contrast, Molinari was delighted in becoming the first Italian since Costantino Rocca in 1997 to play in a Ryder Cup side.

"I'm sorry for Ross but for me it's good news," said Molinari. "I came here to secure my place in the team and I've done that now so it is a big relief.

"I used to watch Costantino playing the Ryder Cup against Tiger. So it's really a dream, and also one of my goals this season."

McGinley attributed his second successive opening score of 68 to a new driver in the bag and he could not have been happier after sending a 282-yard drive uphill at the last for what would be a sixth birdie of his round.

"I played with Steve Webster and Soren Hansen who are quite long and all I know is that I was not too far behind them," said McGinley. "I only missed one fairway and that set me up for a good round."

Meanwhile, Co Down's Simon Thornton carded a 71 yesterday, Shane Lowry and Damien McGrane both went around in 72 and Gary Murphy in 73.

Johnnie Walker Championship,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 10.30

Irish Independent

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