Gallacher could be denied by fellow Scot Ramsay in Turin

Otto still leads way as battle for final Ryder Cup spot goes to wire

Stephen Gallacher of Scotland sees a putt just miss during the third round of  Italian Open Damiani at Circolo Golf Torino. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Stephen Gallacher of Scotland sees a putt just miss during the third round of Italian Open Damiani at Circolo Golf Torino. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

 

Richie Ramsay would hate to be the man to deny fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher a place in the Ryder Cup, but admits he will have to look after his own interests first.

Gallacher needs to finish in the top two in the Italian Open to dislodge Graeme McDowell from the final automatic qualifying place in Paul McGinley’s European team for Gleneagles.

The 39-year-old kept his hopes alive with a 69 on Saturday to head into the final round in Turin in sixth place, four shots behind Ramsay in second and six behind leader Hennie Otto.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger lies third on 13 under after following consecutive rounds of 66 with a 71, with English duo Lee Slattery and Ross Fisher sharing fourth on 11 under.

“I would hate to be the person to deny him a place on the Ryder Cup but I know if it comes down to it, he plays to win and that’s the same attitude I have to have,” said Ramsay, who holed from 40 feet for birdie on the 18th to complete a flawless 66.

“Stevie is a fantastic player as he has shown to get into contention. He will perform on Sunday and I wish him the best in getting (the Ryder Cup place) but I have to accomplish my job of getting into the mix and picking up win number three.”

Ramsay, who won the South African Open in 2010 and European Masters in 2012, added: “It’s a tough one because I know Stevie well and am down at Kingsfield a fair bit where he practises, which is about a mile from his house.

“It’s a big, big ask for him but he has shown how good a player he is and if he did not qualify automatically he would be an asset to the team, not only because of his ball-striking but his attitude as well. His record at Gleneagles is impressive too.”

European captain Paul McGinley missed the cut in Turin but stayed to watch the final two rounds ahead of naming his three wild cards at Wentworth on Tuesday.

Gallacher has said all week he just wanted to be in with a chance on Sunday and achieved that thanks to a round containing four birdies and one bogey.

“It keeps me in touching distance,” Gallacher said. “The worst thing I could have done was open up a big gap which was insurmountable. I’ve not done that so a good day on Sunday and I am still right in there. I had about four lip-outs today but they went in on Friday and I holed a couple of good putts at the end so it evens itself out.

“It’s all to play for. You never know what happens in this game and guys have won from further back than this. I’ll just go out and try and get as many birdies as possible and see what happens.

“It’s a tough week obviously. I have done my day job and done it well but it is a long week and will take a lot out of me mentally but I have two weeks off after this and one round to go, so will give it my best shot.

“This is the only time in my career that I would be happy not to win a golf tournament. Second will do me fine on Sunday.”

Italy’s Francesco Molinari has not given up hope of claiming a second Italian Open title to boost his chances of a Ryder Cup wild card, a third-round 69 leaving him one behind Gallacher on nine under.

“I holed a good putt on the last so maybe that’s a sign of things to come tomorrow,” the Turin native said. “You need to hole the putts and I haven’t done that all week so I’m looking forward to doing that tomorrow.”

Otto began the day with a three-shot lead after a stunning 62 on Friday, but struggled to a 71 in just his second tournament back after two back operations.

“It was a rough day to be honest,” said the 38-year-old, who carded five birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey seven on the ninth. “My back started to tighten after eight holes but I managed to get it round even though I couldn’t swing it properly. I got a little lucky at times as well but you need that in this game if you are going to win a tournament.

“It’s uncomfortable but not painful enough to stop me playing. I’m not really worried about it. I was in serious pain before the operations but this is nothing like that and I can get it fixed with some stretching and physio just now.”

Darren Clarke moved into a share of 20th spot after a five-under 67 got him to seven under. Gareth Maybin’s 74 left him on two under and Damien McGrane is a shot further back after a 73.

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