Ross Fisher keen on Ryder Cup return as good form continues

English golfer takes one-shot lead at Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

England's Ross Fisher has already set his sights on helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup after being a frustrated spectator for last week's defeat at Hazeltine.

Fisher, who carded a second round of 68 to claim a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Friday, was part of the winning team at Celtic Manor in 2010, but failed to qualify for any of the last three biennial contests.

“The juices were definitely flowing,” Fisher told Sky Sports. “I watched quite a bit Friday, a fair amount Saturday and then watched it until unfortunately the Americans won the cup on Sunday. That was a bit upsetting and I was a bit cheesed off so I went to bed!

“It was probably a good thing that they won it. For us to win four in a row it would have been a bit of sour grapes and they would have said we don’t really think that much about the Ryder Cup and value the Presidents Cup more.


“I’m sure all the Europeans will be fighting to make the team for Paris National in 2018, including myself. I would love to be there.

“Having experienced one they always say you never want to miss it. I’ve missed a few and I’ve always been really gutted but the form is feeling good and I just have to keep it going through the Ryder Cup (qualification) period and hopefully I’ll be on the team with some great guys and we can win the trophy back.”

Fisher, who lost a play-off to Alexander Levy in the Porsche European Open a fortnight ago, carded seven birdies and three bogeys on the Old Course at St Andrews, one of the three venues used for the pro-am event.

At 11 under par he enjoyed a one-shot lead over Sweden's Joakim Lagergren, whose 68 came at Kingsbarns, where first-round leader Alex Noren shot a 71 to finish nine under.

Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters is five shots off the pace after a 68 at Kingsbarns, but was left to regret a double bogey on the 17th after six birdies in the previous 16 holes.

“Just a shame to finish with a double but I was going along nicely and making a few putts,” said Pieters, who claimed a record four points from five matches on his debut at Hazeltine. “That three-putt on 17 hurt but I am looking forward to playing St Andrews tomorrow.

“I didn’t play a practice round on it because I was too tired, but I know the course. I’ve been here two or three times, so really looking forward to playing the Old Course.”

European team-mate Martin Kaymer was a shot behind Pieters after his own 68 at Kingsbarns, but Lee Westwood – who failed to win a point from three matches at Hazeltine – was propping up the leaderboard on 13 over par after slumping to an 82 at the same venue.

Masters champion Danny Willett and compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick face a battle to make the 54-hole cut after rounds of 73 left them two and six over par respectively.

A strong front nine containing four birdies helped Shane Lowry card a four-under 68 at Kingsbarns to move to four under overall and a share of 20th position. The Offaly golfer will look to low at St Andrews on Saturday.

Graeme McDowell went one better, an eagle helping to to a five-under 67 at Kingsbarns that leaves him on three under.

Pádraig Harrington could only manage a one-over 73 on the same course, slipping back to one under, while Paul Dunne is on a level par after a level-par 72 at Carnoustie.