FIANO, Italy (AP) — Hennie Otto of South Africa shot a 10-under 62 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Italian Open on Friday, while Stephen Gallacher’s late bid to qualify for the Ryder Cup also gained momentum.
Otto, who won this event in 2008, carded nine birdies, one eagle and one bogey to move to 15-under at the Circolo Golf Torino. He was three shots ahead of Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.
After opening with a 72, Gallacher shot a 65 to move within eight strokes of the lead at 7-under.
Gallacher is the only man still capable of moving into the automatic Ryder Cup places in the final qualifying event, with a top-two finish enough to dislodge former U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell from Europe’s team.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who shared the overnight lead on his home course with Wiesberger, could only manage a 72 to lie nine strokes back.
“It’s always special to shoot a 62 but a 59 never even crossed my mind,” said Otto, who was 10-under par on his round after 15 holes and needed to birdie the last three to record the first sub-60 round on the European Tour.
However, a bogey on the 17th hole marked the only shot that Otto dropped in two days.
“I really played well, hit some good shots and the greens were running well so you were able to make some putts,” he said. “Something about courses in Italy suits my eye and it would be great to win the tournament. Hopefully I can keep it up and keep going over the weekend.”
Molinari believes he has to win to earn a wild card spot for the Ryder Cup team.
“It’s a step back but there are two more days so let’s see what happens at the weekend,” Molinari said.