Wilson back on track
Ryder Cup debut awaits after stunning finish
Last Updated: August 30, 2008 1:14pm
Wilson: Heading for Valhalla?
Oliver Wilson somehow survived the cut at the Johnnie Walker Championship to keep his hopes alive of qualifying for next month's Ryder Cup.
Six over par with 10 holes to play and heading for a weekend off, Wilson grabbed an eagle and two birdies to survive the halfway cut by the skin of his teeth.
Minutes later German Martin Kaymer, his biggest danger in the race for places in Nick Faldo's team, missed four-foot putts on the final two greens to miss out by one.
"I'm proud of myself," said Wilson, poised now to become the first player ever to play for Europe against the Americans without winning a tournament in his professional career.
"That was the biggest round of my career. It was not the front nine I wanted, but it was the back nine I needed."
With Justin Rose and Soren Hansen on the verge of clinching a first cap as well, Wilson now has to hold off the challenge of only Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher.
But Dougherty has to finish first or second on Sunday and Fisher has to be in the top three - and at halfway they are way down the field on one under and level par respectively.
Frenchman Gregory Havret still leads on seven under par, overcoming a shank with the second shot of his day to add a two under 71 to his opening 68.
A double bogey on the third and bogeys at the sixth and seventh put Wilson up against it, but he went birdie-eagle-birdie on the next three par fives.
At the 503-yard 12th he struck a three-wood to eight feet and on the 543-yard 16th he hit a driver off the deck over the water and onto the green, from where he two-putted.
There was still some sweating to come because he found sand with his tee shot to the short 17th, but he salvaged his par and finished with another for a one under 72 and two over aggregate.
"I'm not going to smile because Martin missed the cut, but that's big news," he added. "There's still a long way to go, though.
"I gave myself a talking-to on the ninth and just tried to stay patient. Maybe I was trying too hard.
"I know it's tight and I knew I had to be here at the weekend. If I didn't it was pretty much over."
For a while it looked as if Rose and Hansen, eighth and ninth in the standings, would clinch their spots on the second day, which would have happened had Wilson, Kaymer and Dougherty all missed the cut.
Dougherty was one over after a bogey six on the ninth, but birdied the 14th and 16th.
"If I can play great I still have a chance," he said. "But you're scared almost with putts of 20 feet or over.
"The scoring is not great and you can make a big move in a short time. Unfortunately I'm going to have to rely on some luck on the greens."
Havret leads by one from England's Robert Rock, who was a joint leader at halfway in Holland last week and then crashed to a Saturday 80.
Welshman Bradley Dredge and Scot Peter Whiteford shared third spot two back, while Hansen's second successive 71 put him in a tie for fifth.