Omega European Masters: Matt Fitzpatrick two off halfway lead

By Ali Stafford

Matt Fitzpatrick increased his chances of successfully defending his Omega European Masters title after moving within two strokes of the halfway lead in Switzerland.

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The Englishman - who missed out being named as one of Thomas Bjorn's Ryder Cup wildcards on Wednesday - recovered from two early bogeys to fire a six-under 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Fitzpatrick sits in a share of second on seven under alongside Lucas Bjerregaard, as Hideto Tanihara followed up his opening-round 65 with a bogey-free 66 to top the leaderboard.

Image: Fitzpatrick is chasing a fifth European Tour title

"It was a great day," Fitzpatrick told Sky Sports. "It was a bad start, but one reason why I love this golf course is that you know you can get it back."

Fitzpatrick - who beat Scott Hend in a play-off last year - began the day five off the pace and lost further ground with blemishes at the first and fourth, only to bounce back with three consecutive birdies from the fifth.

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A gain at the par-five ninth and a tap-in at the tenth moved Fitzpatrick back up the leaderboard, before he followed further birdies at the 12th and 14th by holing a 15-footer at the last.

Tanihara posted three birdies in a six-hole stretch over his back nine to set the clubhouse target, with Stephen Gallacher close behind him until a final-hole double-bogey saw him drop into the group three back.

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Danny Willett is also on six under after matching Gallacher's 66, while overnight leader Max Kieffer lies a further stroke back after a one-over 71.

Made In Denmark champion Matt Wallace is six shots back on three under alongside Ryder Cup vice-captain Lee Westwood, while Thomas Pieters missed the club after snapping his putter on his way to a seven-over 77.

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Open to watch

Watch the Omega European Masters throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf.

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