Ryder Cup row overshadows EPGA event
Fatiha Betscher
10:39 AEST Sat Aug 25 2012

England's Richard Finch and Mark Foster sought to distance themselves from an ugly Ryder Cup controversy to share the lead at eight under par at the halfway stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship on Friday.

Finch carded a second round 67 to join Foster in front of the field by a stroke on the rain-softened PGA Centenary course.

Scotland's Paul Lawrie (69) and Australian Brett Rumford (70) share third place on seven under par.

Finch, 35, is looking to end a four-year winless drought while it's been nine years since Foster, 37, captured his only Tour victory in winning the 2003 Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

Foster is also looking to make-up for missing out on success in the event last year having been involved in a five-man play-off won by Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.

"I like this golf course as you have to be aggressive off the tee, so I am sticking to the same strategy and will try to be a bit more aggressive and hopefully come out one better this year," he said.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal will have the weekend off to consider his two wildcard picks, and also his fourth vice-captain, after missing the cut by three shots.

However, for a second day running, Olazabal found himself having to deal with questions concerning triple major winner Padraig Harrington being afforded one of those wildcard picks.

On Thursday, Olazabal commented on Harrington's score of 64 on day one of the PGA Tour's Barclays Championship in the United States, saying that the Irishman needed to "at least win" to even be considered as a wildcard.

"Harrington is well back on the list and not closer than other players, so he certainly needs a win or a top finish to make the team," said Olazabal.

"He's not any different to Sergio (Garcia) is he? So, I don't know what this is all about. He's an experienced player but at the moment he is not able to deliver, period. It's simple as that."

Olazabal denied there are any lingering bad feelings between him and Harrington following an incident at the 2003 Seve Trophy in Valencia.

"If people believe that is interfering with my judgement then first of all they are completely wrong," said Olazabal.

"If that was the case I would failing as a captain. So to put it gently that's a lot of B.S."

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