Paul McGinley boosted his slim chances of a Seve Trophy pick when he blasted a bogey-free 67 in the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne.

The 40-year-old Dubliner improved by 12 shots on his second round 79 when he hit five birdies in his first ten holes at Gut Larchenhof to get back to level par.

But that still left him 12 shots behind Danes Thomas Bjorn and Soren Hansen, who hit rounds of 66 and 71 to lead on 12 under par.

“I am going in the right direction, but I am not on my game,” McGinley confessed. “I am really driving the ball badly and getting away with it with my iron play.”

McGinley will need another sensational performance today if he is land one of Great Britain and Ireland skipper Nick Faldo’s two wildcards for the Seve Trophy at The Heritage in two weeks’ time.

But he added: “The big picture is not getting picked for the Seve Trophy. The big picture is playing good golf. Normally I am ‘Mr. Consistent’ but I’ve had 12 bogeys this week and that’s not good enough.”

Scot Alastair Forsyth is just one behind former Irish Open champions Bjorn and Hansen thanks to a brilliant 10-under par 62 while Richard Green, Simon Khan and an under the weather Lee Westwood are tied for fourth on 10-under par.

Graeme McDowell is the best of the Irish on six-under par after a 69 and confessed that he would need a seriously low round to win today and earn an automatic Seve Trophy place.

But he took time out to wish former Walker Cup partner Michael Hoey and fellow Ulsterman Gareth Maybin the best in the World Cup qualifier in Aruba the week after next.

He said: “I am just disappointed that the way things transpired I couldn’t do it. Hopefully there will be World Cups for me in the future. I wish the boys all the best and I hope they go and do it.”

Darren Clarke’s driving woes continued when he went out in one under par but lurched home in 42, posting a second successive 75 to share 71st place on five over.