MARBELLA, Spain (AP) -Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson took a step toward his maiden win by earning a tie for second among early starters on day two of the Andalucia Open on Friday.
Wilson, who has finished second nine times on the European Tour, recorded six birdies but bogeyed his last hole in a round of 5-under 67 for a 6 under par tally on the Aloha course near Marbella.
He and Italy's Edoardo Molinari (65) and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin (68) were a stroke behind clubhouse leader Pablo Larrazabal, who birdied four holes in succession in his outward nine in a score of 69 to move to 7 under.
Overnight leader Matteo Manessero of Italy was still on the course.
Wilson's appearance in the 2008 Ryder Cup was highlighted when he and Henrik Stenson came from behind to defeat Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim in the Saturday foursomes.
The past two seasons have been difficult for Wilson, who lost his European Tour card in finishing 130th on the Race to Dubai money list and dropped to a current 396th world ranking.
Wilson was struck down by illness a year ago in the Middle East after drinking contaminated water. The Englishman didn't learn until May that he had a stomach parasite that led to stomach ulcers. He was again unwell in September but decided to play 10 tournaments in succession in the hope of holding onto his tour card.
However, Wilson purposely elected not to attend Q-School and instead devoted himself to his fitness.
"This is probably the first time in my career that I've felt this good about myself," he said. "I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been. I've never been this fit playing golf in my life and I like that feeling.
"So a decision to start working with a physical trainer is probably the best decision I've ever made in my career because I was always cautious turning to people like that."
Wilson, who had not played for a month, was also grateful to tournament host Miguel Angel Jimenez, who gave him an invitation to compete. Wilson is also contesting the next two European Tour events on invitations.
"I am just so grateful to Miguel Angel," Wilson said. "It's difficult when you have to sit down and write for an invitation to play but thanks to him and also organizers of the Hassan Trophy and Sicily , I am playing these three weeks."
Former Masters winner Mike Weir, also competing on an invite, could also be pleased despite recording a 73 to be at 3 under. It is the first time this year he will play all four rounds.