Ryder Cup hopefuls Fitzpatrick and Olesen surge while Pepperell fades

There were contrasting fortunes for the European trio still in the hunt for automatic Ryder Cup qualification at the Made in Denmark.

Ryder Cup hopefuls Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjorn Olesen   -  Getty Images

Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjorn Olesen gave their Ryder Cup chances a shot in the arm at the Made in Denmark on Saturday, but fellow hopeful Eddie Pepperell drifted badly.

Olesen is in the box seat in terms of claiming the eighth and final automatic qualification place to be a part of Thomas Bjorn's Team Europe to take on the USA, later, this month at Le Golf National.

The Dane needs a tie for seventh with one other player at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club this week to be sure of his place, while the English duo of Fitzpatrick and Pepperell need to emerge victorious to stand any chance.

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After a disappointing opening-round 73, Olesen improved with a three-under 69 on Friday and continued his upward trajectory by signing for a 67, a day later.

That left him on seven-under, eight shots behind clubhouse leader Steven Brown, whose 63 was the lowest round of the tournament so far.

After the setback of a bogey at the second, Olesen picked up five birdies between the seventh and 12th, while another at the 16th boosted him further.

Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, put in a blemish-free six-under 66 to move to 10-under and within five shots of the summit. It was bad news for Pepperell, however, as he fell out of contention with a two-over 74 to fall back to three-under.