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Ryder is goal for sizzling Molinari

THERE is less than a week to go to the Open Championship, but Italian Francesco Molinari insists he is thinking more about the Ryder Cup right now.

A dazzling first round 62 - 10 under par - at the Scottish Open has given Molinari the chance to leap all the way from 10th to second in the cup race this weekend.

The 29-year-old was a member of Colin Montgomerie's side at Celtic Manor two years ago, but has not forgotten he contributed only one half-point to the nail-biting victory.

That was with his brother in the fourballs, but this time he is flying solo - Edoardo has just had wrist surgery and unlikely to play again this summer.

"The main goal that I have in mind is to make the team," he said.

"Obviously it would be even better to make the team winning The Open or whatever other tournament I can on the way, but that's the aim at the moment.

"I think once you've played in one it's so good that you want to do anything you can to get back on the team.

"I played three matches last time, so my record is not the best. I would like to go back there and try to improve that."

After his course record performance - also the joint best round of his European Tour career and the lowest start to an event this season - Molinari led by two overnight from Spaniard Alejandro Canizares.

The son of former cup hero Jose Maria, Canizares was only one under par at the turn, but came home in 29 and finished with six straight birdies.

Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin stood joint third after 65s, but not all the big guns joined in on a day of spectacular scoring.

Ireland's Shane Lowry and Peter Lawrie are well in the hunt after superb 66s on the famous links course.

"I played some good golf and holed some nice putts. That was the key today," Lowry said.

"My long game has been as good as it ever was over the last few months without getting the scores I deserved."

Pádraig Harrington could not replicate the great golf he has been playing over recent weeks but he scrambled well for a three under par 69.

While world number one and defending champion Luke Donald did fine with a 67 - he was actually seven under with five to go, but then had two bogeys - Phil Mickelson and Paul Lawrie were down in 123rd spot after one over par rounds of 73.

Mickelson pulled out of a trip with his family to the Vatican to play, but needs to climb into the top 65 just to survive tonight's cut.

Asked if he was hoping for divine intervention the American replied: "I'm not a fan of that. I think everybody is looked on equally and you have to make your own destiny."

Another resuming one over was 21-year-old Tom Lewis, whose hopes of returning to The Open a year after he shot the lowest-ever round by an amateur and led are now hanging by a thread.