Donald shows intent for Ryder Cup berth

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The Independent Online

Luke Donald fired a course-record 65 in the Scandinavian Masters to send the European captain Bernhard Langer a timely reminder ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Donald carded seven birdies and no bogeys at Barseback for a 10-under-par halfway total of 134 and a three-shot lead over fellow Cup hopeful Paul McGinley and Sweden's Johan Edfors. Colin Montgomerie birdied four of his last five holes for a 68 to lie four under, Nick Faldo finished one under after a 72 but pre-tournament favourite Lee Westwood crashed out after a 77.

Donald is 14th in the Ryder Cup world ranking list with only the top five qualifying automatically for the European team which will defend the trophy at Oakland Hills in September.

Even a first European Tour victory here tomorrow would only move Donald up to 10th in the standings, but he is a genuine contender for one of the two wildcards, given his experience in America and top Walker Cup record - he won seven of his eight matches in Britain and Ireland's victories in 1999 and 2001.

"I've had a good year so far in America and it's nice to come over to Europe and play some good golf over here just to remind everyone I still exist and am still European," the 26-year-old said. "These few weeks are very important and if I can play well and sneak a win then it's going to get Bernhard Langer's attention."

Donald and several other players only rejoined the European Tour when it was agreed they needed to playjust 11 events for eligibility if they made the team.

Scandinavian Masters Leading early second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 134 L Donald 69 65. 137 P McGinley 69 68; C Hanell (Swe) 68 69. 138 H Stenson (Swe) 68 70; P Hanson (Swe) 72 66; D Howell 67 71. 139 S Khan 70 69; J Parnevik (Swe) 69 70. 140 T Levet (Fr) 69 71; C Montgomerie 72 68; D Lynn 72 68; C Rodiles (Sp) 71 69; S Hansen (Den) 69 71; I Poulter 72 68. 141 P Hedblom (Swe) 71 70; P Fulke (Swe) 71 70; C Gane 68 73; M Brier (Aut) 70 71. Selected: 142 A Coltart 70 72. 143 N Faldo 71 72; Adam Scott (Aus) 72 71.