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Molinari brothers set up Sunday showdown

Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari set up an intriguing finale at the Johnnie Walker Championship, with a Ryder Cup place also at stake for the older of the two.

Francesco, already assured of his place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team, led after the third round at Gleneagles on Saturday while Edoardo, who is hoping to convince European captain Colin Montgomerie to include him on a wild card, trailed by one stroke.

The pair, who won the World Cup together last year, will play together in Sunday’s final round after Francesco posted a four-under 68 for a 10-under 206 total.

Sunday’s showdown will be a repeat of July’s Scottish Open when Edoardo outdid his brother to take the title. Another victory for Edoardo would make it difficult for Montgomerie not to choose him as one of his three wild cards later on Sunday.

“It’s an obvious partnership (the Molinari brothers),” Montgomerie admitted. “And I can now not only look at not who might be in but who plays with who.”

Montgomerie, who had urged potential candidates to play at Gleneagles, is still considering four other candidates playing in the United States: Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Padraig Harrington.

“I’d be very upset if I win and he doesn’t pick me,” Edoardo told reporters. “If I win and don’t get picked, there’s something seriously wrong because I’m one of the candidates.

“Francesco and I know each other’s game inside out and we have rarely been beaten together.”

Francesco agreed the pair were a strong partnership. “It all depends what Monty feels will be the strongest team,” he added. “Whatever happens, I think the final round will be exciting.”

Briton Simon Dyson increased his chances of overtaking either ninth-placed Miguel Angel Jimenez or eighth-placed Peter Hanson in the automatic table.

The Englishman, who needs a win to have any chance, lies two strokes off the lead in joint third place after a 70.

Montgomerie went off to monitor the progress of his wild-card aspirants across the Atlantic before hosting a dinner for two of his vice-captains, Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn, to discuss the team for the Oct. 1-3 event against the U.S. at Celtic Manor, Wales.

Asked what was on the menu, Montgomerie mischievously said: “Something good, something Italian.”


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