Hanson leads race for Ryder Cup spot

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The Independent Online

Thirteen players are separated by only two shots at the halfway stage of the Czech Open – and they include two of the men chasing a Ryder Cup place.

Peter Hanson, 15th on the points table, shares the lead on seven under par with fellow Swede Fredrik Widmark.

England's Simon Dyson, one spot below Hanson in the cup race with only one more week to come, is on five under as he also seeks the win which would take him into the all-important top nine at the expense of Paul Casey.

Hanson, who received a sponsors' invitation to the event on Monday and has already won the Mallorca Open this season, added a 70 to his opening 67 and said: "I left four or five shots out there, but I'm feeling good about my game."

Widmark is a lowly 1,354th – joint last — on the world rankings after having shoulder surgery and then breaking his wrist falling off a roof.

But the 34-year-old not only made his first halfway cut of the season on the European Tour, but caught Hanson by grabbing three birdies in his last four holes for a 67.

One behind are Ireland's Peter Lawrie, who in contrast bogeyed two of the last four, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, Argentina's Clodomiro Carranza and another Swede, Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Dyson returned a 69 and commented: "It's weird because I kind of expected there to be double figures [under par] by now, but there isn't and that stands me in good stead."

The incentive for him and Hanson is that Casey, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald, all of whom could have qualified, are missing next week's Johnnie Walker Championship, opening the door to the chasing pack. Ireland's Shane Lowry is alongside him after a best-of-the-day 64 and Welshman Bradley Dredge would have been as well but for arriving for his round 20 seconds late and being penalised two shots.