AARHUS, Denmark — Thorbjorn Olesen was in a strong position to secure the final qualifying place in Europe's Ryder Cup team despite making the cut only on the number at the Made In Denmark event on Friday.
Only a victory for Matthew Fitzpatrick or Eddie Pepperell can deny Olesen the last automatic spot in the Europe team via the world points list, but the English players were far off the lead after the second round at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club.
Pepperell shot a 3-under 69 and was 5 under overall, eight strokes behind leader Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa. Fitzpatrick shot 68 and was a stroke further back.
They both need big weekends in central Denmark to deny Olesen a first-ever Ryder Cup appearance under the captaincy of his compatriot, Thomas Bjorn. The biggest 36-hole deficit made up by a winner this season is nine shots, by Alex Noren at the French Open.
"It will take a silly low weekend," said Fitzpatrick, who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2016 at Hazeltine. "If I could shoot a couple of 64s then I would have a chance."
Olesen shot 69 and made the weekend on the cut mark at 2-under 142.
"I feel like I am very close to shooting a low number," Olesen said, "and playing the way I have been for the last three months or so."
Bezuidenhout made eight birdies in a 65 that left him on 13 under, tying Bradley Dredge's tournament record after 36 holes.
Bezuidenhout was two strokes ahead of Ryder Cup vice-captain Lee Westwood (65) and first-round leader Jonathan Thomson (69).