Matt Fitzpatrick leads European Masters at halfway stage in Switzerland

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Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick leads at the halfway stage as he looks to win his third European Masters title
-12 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -11 A Bjork (Swe); -10 R Langasque (Fra), A Fitzpatrick (Eng)
Selected: -9 L Aaberg (Swe); -8 C Syme (Sco); -7 J Smith (Eng), E Pepperell (Eng); -6 S Jamieson (Sco)
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England’s Matt Fitzpatrick marked his 29th birthday with an impressive second round 65 to lead the European Masters at the halfway stage.

Fitzpatrick holds a one-shot lead over Sweden’s Alexander Bjork on 12 under par at Crans-sur-Sierre as he looks to secure a Ryder Cup spot.

His younger brother Alex is just two shots behind in third.

“The first nine I played fantastic, just carried on where I left off yesterday,” said Fitzpatrick.

“I’m disappointed obviously to only shoot level par on the front given the scoring opportunities, but I’m in a good position going into the weekend.”

Fitzpatrick will replace Tommy Fleetwood in one of the two remaining automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup with finish of sixth or better in Switzerland. Joint seventh would also be enough for Fitzpatrick, but only if he was tied with one other player.

Younger brother Alex is tied with France’s Romain Langasque on 10 under, with Ryder Cup contenders Adrian Meronk and Ludvig Aberg another stroke back.

Asked about the prospect of battling his brother for the title over the weekend, Matt Fitzpatrick said: “It’s weird competing for a tournament because we never did it in juniors.

“I was asking Nicolai (Hojgaard) if he and Rasmus did it and he said they did in juniors, but they’re the same age and we’re four years apart.

“We’ve never really experienced it before – it’s going to be a nightmare for my parents.”

Paul is fighting it out with Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre for the other automatic qualifying spot in Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup side, but failed to build on his promising first round.

MacIntyre only just made the cut on three under, but Paul could not take advantage with a second round of 71 leaving him on five under and in a tie for 33rd place, when he needs to finish around third or higher to stand a chance of pipping the left-hander.

Adrian Meronk, who is looking to become the first player from Poland to play in the Ryder Cup, shot a brilliant 64 to sit on nine under and just three off the lead.

Meronk needs to at least finish joint second with only one other player to have any chance of grabbing an automatic spot, but even if he doesn’t, a good performance this weekend may convince Donald to include him as one of his six wildcards when he announces his picks on Monday.

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