Gregory Havret of France holds the lead at the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles but frankly, who the hell cares. That ain't the story. How goes the dogfight for Ryder Cup Inclusion? That's what we wanna know; Sorry Greg, you're irrelevant
Sitting pretty just now is Soren Hansen, he lies in a tie for sixth after a first round 71, that's two under on the massive Gleneagles course. He's obviously comfortable with this course and is top of the six vying for automatic places and hoping to stay there.
Ross Fisher is well in the hunt, just one shot worse of than Hansen on -1. Thats four off the lead and sees him in a tir for thirteenth, a decent base to build on and he'll be happy to be there. A costly double bogey on the par 3 Fourth hole was followed by bogey on 5 and 7, but four birdies in the next six redressed the balance and with a birdie on the last, he manged to get back under par. If he can cut out the dropped shots tomorrow he could do well.
Both Nick Dougherty and Justin Rose are on even par, tied 22nd. In a topsy-turvy round Dougherty went birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie, with a few pars in between here and there, but eventually come out owing nothing to par. He needs a big finish here, second the very minimum really, a win probably required so he'll be hoping for a nice smooth round tomorrow and to rack up those birdies again and climb the leaderboard.
Rose had back to back dropped shots on 14 and 15 but a birdie at the first and the last with the rest pars gave him an odd looking scorecard but an even score. He's looking fairly solid to book his place without much fuss now.
The two guys on the borderline of qualification, with less than 27,000 euros between them, Oliver Wilson and Martin Kaymer did not get off to the start they wanted. At three over par and tied 73rd, they are in serious danger of missing the cut. Both Rose and Hansen are well placed, so it looks like the dogfight is over that third spot and they both lost the advantage today. Fisher would need fourth place to overtake them both to make the weekend, an achievable target from where he's at now you would think. They'll need to make life a little tougher for him and make it to the weekend or they're in for a sweaty time of it watching on telly. Both took a double bogey, and had four bogies and three birdies apiece. It seem that little can seperate these too. If one makes the cut and the other doesn't, it could be decisive.
I'll be talking a bit more about the current wild card hoo-ha next post, there's all sorts of hasty comments and hooded jibes being made, mainly by Poulter and Monty, Clarke and Casey are playing it cool, for now... What I will do here is tell you that Clarke got off to a cracking start, getting to three under par on the fourteenth green. But a horrible run of three bogeys threatened to wreck his round completely. A birdie four down the last however took the sharp edge off his disappointing finish and he was in, one shot to the good, tied 13th.
Monty is slightly further off the pace, but is in much better shape than he was in his last two tournaments, which frankly wouldn't be hard. But he's better than just not rock bottom. He got it round just one stroke over par which is a tie for 37th and he can take heart in the fact that he finished his round in better fashion than it started. Still, he's said he thinks he needs to win here and as I will be covering has been shouting his mouth off about dodgy deals between Poulter and Captain Nick. Shut up Monty and get on with your job, you can chat about it afterwards.