Joint leaders at Gleneagles
Mark Foster (Gallo Images)
Gleneagles - England's Richard Finch and Mark Foster sought to distance themselves from an ugly Ryder Cup controversy to share the lead at eight under par at the halfway stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship on Friday.
Finch carded a second round 67 to join Foster in front of the field by a stroke on the rain-softened PGA Centenary course.
Finch, 35, is looking to end a four-year winless drought while it's been nine years since Foster, 37, captured his only Tour victory in winning the 2003 Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
Foster is also looking to make-up for missing out on success in the event last year having been involved in a five-man play-off won by Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.
"I like this golf course as you have to be aggressive off the tee, so I am sticking to the same strategy and will try to be a bit more aggressive and hopefully come out one better this year," he said.
Scotland's Paul Lawrie (69) and Australia's Brett Rumford (70) share third place on seven under par.
Lawrie said he is feeling less stress now that he has qualified automatically for the European Ryder Cup team.
"I feel these last two days have been how it felt at the end of last year and the start of this year where I was swinging it nicely," said Lawrie.
"I am not one who worries about things but when you have not played in the Ryder Cup for that long, it's got to be on your mind."
European captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, will have the weekend off to consider his two wildcard picks, and also his fourth vice-captain, after missing the cut by three shots.
However, for a second day running, Olazabal found himself having to deal with questions concerning triple major winner Padraig Harrington being afforded one of those wildcard picks.
On Thursday, Olazabal commented on Harrington's score of 64 on day one of the PGA Tour's Barclays Championship in the United States, saying that the Irishman needed to "at least win" to even be considered as a wildcard.
"Harrington is well back on the list and not closer than other players, so he certainly needs a win or a top finish to make the team," said Olazabal.
"He's not any different to Sergio (Garcia) is he? So, I don't know what this is all about. He's an experienced player but at the moment he is not able to deliver, period. It's simple as that."
Olazabal denied there are any lingering bad feelings between him and Harrington following an incident at the 2003 Seve Trophy in Valencia when Harrington questioned the Spaniard's actions in repairing pitch marks.
Olazabal was so incensed at the time he conceded the hole before the match was eventually halved.
"If people believe that is interfering with my judgement then first of all they are completely wrong," said Olazabal.
"If that was the case I would failing as a captain. So to put it gently that's a lot of B.S."
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts birdied three of his closing five holes in a round of 70 to be lying just three strokes from the lead at five under par.
Colsaerts needs to finish first or second to qualify automatically for the European team for the Ryder Cup which takes place at Medinah, Illinois, from September 28-30.
Leading and selected second round scores in The European Tour's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Scotland on Friday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 72):
136 - Richard Finch 69-67, Mark Foster 68-68
137 - Brett Rumford (AUS) 67-70, Paul Lawrie 68-69
138 - Paul Waring 71-67, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 72-66
139 - David Howell 70-69, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 69-70
140 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 68-72, Richie Ramsay 69-71, Chris Wood 70-70, Colin Montgomerie 72-68, Matthew Nixon 71-69, Rhys Davies 72-68, Matthew Southgate 73-67, Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG) 71-69, Knut Borsheim (NOR) 67-73, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 68-72, Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP) 72-68
141 - Gary Orr 74-67, Peter Whiteford 72-69, Jorge Campillo (ESP) 73-68, Maarten Lafeber (NED) 68-73, Edouard Dubois (FRA) 71-70, David Lynn 71-70, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 69-72, Alexander Noren (SWE) 72-69, Stephen Dodd 73-68, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 70-71, Tommy Fleetwood 71-70
142 - Scott Pinckney (USA) 72-70, Lloyd Kennedy 70-72, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 75-67, James Morrison 71-71, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 71-71, Stephen Gallacher 75-67, Romain Wattel (FRA) 74-68, Fredrik Andersson Hed (SWE) 73-69, Christopher Doak 76-66
143 - Daniel Gaunt (AUS) 70-73, Tjaart Van Der Walt (RSA) 73-70
144 - Alex Haindl (RSA) 72-72, Shiv Kapur (IND) 72-72,
145 - Matthew Zions (AUS) 71-74, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (IND) 74-71, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 76-69
147 - Andrew Dodt (AUS) 69-78, Darren Clarke 75-72, Jose-Maria Olazabal (ESP) 78-69, Shaun Micheel (USA) 73-74
148 - Marcus Both (AUS) 75-73, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 76-72
149 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 77-72, Paul McGinley 73-76, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 78-71
151 - Rich Beem (USA) 78-73, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 74-77
152 - Michael Campbell (NZL) 82-70
153 - Scott Strange (AUS) 74-79