Gallacher and Molinari hope to close on McDowell in North Carolina

Harrington to play in PGA TourWyndham Championship

Italian Francesco Molinari hits his tee shot during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla last week. He plays in North Carolina this week. Photograph: Getty

Italian Francesco Molinari hits his tee shot during the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla last week. He plays in North Carolina this week. Photograph: Getty

 

Stephen Gallacher and Francesco Molinari will look to boost their Ryder Cup hopes in the final regular event of the PGA Tour season in the Wyndham Championship this week.

The European pair have stayed in the United States after last week’s US PGA Championship, where Gallacher missed the cut and Molinari finished in a tie for 59th.

Gallacher is less than 13 points behind Graeme McDowell, who currently occupies the final automatic qualifying place, and is also playing the final two qualifying events on the European Tour, the Czech Masters and Italian Open.

“We don’t get many chances to play in a team event, especially on home soil, and that’s why I’ll be giving it my all over the next few weeks,” he said.

Molinari is more than 30 points adrift of McDowell and will need to produce something special in either Greensboro or at his home event at the end of August to earn a third consecutive cup appearance at Gleneagles.

The Wyndham Championship also decides which players qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs, with the top 125 on the standings advancing to the first of four possible events, The Barclays, next week.

Pádraig Harrington starts the week ranked 188th, with England’s Paul Casey at 125th.

One player with less worries is defending champion Patrick Reed, who is ninth in the standings and who qualified for his Ryder Cup debut on Sunday.

The 24-year-old won his first PGA Tour title at Sedgefield Country Club last year in a play-off with Jordan Spieth, but generated bigger headlines after his victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March by claiming he was one of the top five players in the world.

“I believe that if I play well that I can reach my goal, which is to become a top five player in the world,” Reed said in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I know it’s going to take time. It doesn’t happen overnight and it definitely doesn’t happen over a year or two. You need some time to get there.

“But that’s one of my goals and what I’m going to shoot for. That’s probably everyone’s goal out here . . . to become the best player in the world.

“Playing really well here, and actually being able to cap it off and win, it led to me being able to play very well for almost a full year in a row and hopefully that will continue.”

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