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Aphibarnat led by Wentworth; Rose, Lowry and Wiesberger strengthen hopes for the Ryder Cup

Those of Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat maintained its lead at the BMW PGA Championship with another impressive round at Wentworth as the battle for the final automatic qualification for the European Ryder Cup team intensified on Friday.

Aphibarnrat followed his eight-under 64 on Thursday with a 68 to reach 12 under at the halfway point of the European PGA’s flagship event, which also became the last chance for players to enter Padraig Harrington‘s team of 12 men.

Of the players hoping to join the five players, England have already guaranteed a place on merit Justin got up was best placed when he reached nine under after a round of 68.

Ryder Cup stalwart Rose must win the event to reach one of the remaining automatic spots, though his impressive form makes it likely one of Harrington’s three wildcards for the game in Whistling Straights.

Irish Shane Lowry seems almost certain he can take his place without making a choice, as he reached eight under on Friday, after a six-under-66.

“It’s up to Paddy what he wants to do on Sunday night, but hopefully I do not need the choice,” said Lowry, who started the tournament in ninth and final automatic place.

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who needed a top-50 final at Wentworth to secure a Ryder Cup debut, did not hurt his chances at all, with a five under 67 to enter the top 20.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick also includes a spot after a round of 69 meant he could safely make the cut.

Lee Westwood, who held one of the qualifying places after the event, achieved a round of 70 to finish four on the second consecutive day.

While Westwood now has to make the team for the 11th time in his career, he said the qualifying process for the Ryder Cup was flawed.

“There are also so many variables with the way we set up the qualification this time,” he said.

“This tournament is heavily loaded compared to everything we’ve done. I think it’s something to look at in the future.”

However, it could be an anxious weekend for England Tyrrell Hatton. The defending champion scored a three-under-67 on Thursday after his disappointing round of 74 on Thursday, but he is expected to miss the cut for the weekend.

Europe’s ‘Mr Ryder Cup’ Ian Poulter would probably also miss the cut, though he’s almost certainly one of Harrington’s choices, given his inspiring Ryder Cup form.

While the battle for the Ryder Cup places was very busy, Aphibarnrat played beautifully again.

Rugby rugby birdies at the 16th and 17th holes helped him get into the only lead, one hold ahead of England Laurie Canter whose 66 left him at 11 below.

Australia Adam Scott was a further shot in third place while four players – Rose, Italian Francesco Laporta, Welsh Jamie Donaldson and American Billy Horschel – was at nine at the bottom of the halfway mark

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