Robert Rock rolls back the years to lead in Scottish Open

Six years after beating Tiger Woods head-to-head, England’s Robert Rock achieved another personal milestone to claim the halfway lead in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Rock added a second round of 63 to his opening 64 at a defenceless Gullane for a halfway total of 13 under par and two-shot lead over compatriot Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Jens Dantorpwith Eddie Pepperell and 2015 champion Rickie Fowler another stroke back.

Lee Westwood was part of a four-strong group on nine under, with former Masters champion Trevor Immelman on eight under par alongside first-round leader Luke List.

Graeme McDowell was the sole member of the Irish contingent to prolong their interest heading into the weekend – as he shot a second round of 66 on Friday.

He now sits at five under par for the tournament – eight shots off the lead of Rock. However, Paul Dunne failed to make the cut by a stroke after he followed his opening 67 with a second round 70, leaving him on three under.

Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington also failed to make the cut, after finishing the second day’s play on level par and four over par respectively.

Meanwhile Rock, 41, has not dropped a shot over the first 36 holes for the first time in his career and is in pole position to secure one of the three qualifying places on offer for next week’s Open Championship, although he will be in Carnoustie anyway in his role as coach to a number of fellow players.

“I’ve started well in a few tournaments recently but it’s all about putting four rounds together and that’s the challenge,” said Rock, whose last European Tour title came in Abu Dhabi in 2012, where he played the final round alongside Woods and outscored the world number one by two, with Rory McIlroy finishing runner-up and Woods in a tie for third.

“Getting into the Open is everything, but you have to focus on this event first and play the course here before that. I hate missing the Open. I’ll be there whatever happens as a coach but it’s hard going just as a coach and not playing.”

Hatton won the Dunhill Links in 2016 and 2017 and revealed another victory here would be a welcome boost for his mother Karen, who lives near Inverness and is recovering at home after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour in her lung.

“It was lucky they caught it early,” Hatton said. “She will be watching on TV and I’ll try my best to be up there come Sunday.”

Despite adding a bogey-free 64 to his opening 65, Hatton was far from satisfied with his ball-striking, adding: “On some shots I literally didn’t even hit grooves. I was so far out of the toe I’m surprised it went forward to be honest.

“Me and the driving range aren’t friends so I’ll stay away from that, have the afternoon off and hopefully wake up with a good swing tomorrow.”

Pepperell finished fourth when the Scottish Open was last staged at Gullane in 2015 and needs another top-10 this week to have the chance of securing a second Open appearance.

“The two similarities between 2015 and now is that I haven’t played a practise round and stayed in Edinburgh both times,” Pepperell said.

“That seems to be the secret for me, just go out and have nice meals in Edinburgh and drink a bit of wine and come up here and play for four hours.

“I’m actually going to be commentating for BBC Five Live for a couple of days if I don’t play. Obviously I’d rather be playing but we’ll just wait and see.”

Scotland’s Connor Syme set a new course record of 62 early in the day which was broken shortly before 8pm by Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, who recorded an eagle and seven birdies in his first 15 holes to threaten the first 59 in European Tour history before eventually signing for a 61.

Graeme McDowell shot a 66 in the second round of the Scottish Open. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty
Graeme McDowell shot a 66 in the second round of the Scottish Open. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty

In contrast, five-time major winner Phil Mickelson missed the cut after finishing one under par, admitting: “I have some work to do on my game, I didn’t play great. Now I’ll have a couple of extra days to go over to Carnoustie and try to get it done.”

Collated second round scores (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 70):

127 Robert Rock 64 63
129 Tyrrell Hatton 65 64, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 64 65
130 Eddie Pepperell 67 63, Rickie Fowler (USA) 64 66
131 Haotong Li (Chn) 66 65, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 67 64, Scott Fernandez (Spa) 64 67, Lee Westwood 64 67
132 Luke List (USA) 63 69, Sam Horsfield 67 65, Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 68 64, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 65 67, Aaron Rai 69 63
133 Steven Brown 69 64, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 66 67, Charley Hoffman (USA) 67 66, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 67 66, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 72 61, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 68 65, Marcel Siem (Ger) 66 67, Justin Rose 67 66, Connor Syme 71 62, Ian Poulter 66 67, Russell Knox 66 67
134 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 67 67, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 70 64, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 69 65, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 65 69, Danny Willett 66 68, James Morrison 69 65, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69 65, Duncan Stewart 70 64, Jordan Smith 67 67, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 69 65, Alexander Levy (Fra) 68 66, Matthew Fitzpatrick 68 66, Patrick Reed (USA) 65 69, Oliver Farr 69 65
135 Graeme McDowell 69 66Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 70 65, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 67 68, Matthew Southgate 65 70, Jin-ho Choi (Kor) 68 67, Scott Hend (Aus) 66 69, Adam Bland (Aus) 67 68, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 68 67, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 69 66, Justin Walters (Rsa) 66 69
136 Ricardo Gouveia (Prt) 68 68, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 67 69, Oliver Fisher 67 69, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 65 71, Rak hyun Cho (Kor) 69 67, Thomas Detry (Bel) 70 66, Gavin Green (Mal) 69 67, Clement Sordet (Fra) 66 70, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 69 67, Cameron Smith (Aus) 68 68, Jamie McLeary 68 68, Stephen Gallacher 70 66, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 70 66, Pedro Oriol (Spa) 71 65, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 70 66, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 68 68, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 65 71

The following players did not make the cut:

137 Lasse Jensen (Den) 67 70, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 68 69, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 68 69, Peter Hanson (Swe) 66 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 70 67, Paul Dunne 67 70Nacho Elvira (Spa) 71 66, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 73 64, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 68 69, Bradley Dredge 68 69, Soomin Lee (Kor) 67 70, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 68 69, David Horsey 69 68, Matt Kuchar (USA) 68 69, Chris Paisley 67 70, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 69 68
138 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 70, Chris Wood 68 70, Richie Ramsay 66 72, Charlie Ford 70 68, Ross Fisher 70 68, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 71 67, Ashun Wu (Chn) 69 69, Bradley Neil 68 70, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 70 68, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 68 70, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 70 68, Laurie Canter 67 71, Chris Hanson 71 67, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 70 68, Martin Laird 72 66
139 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 69 70, Scott Jamieson 71 68, Chase Koepka (USA) 69 70, Marc Warren 68 71, Ernie Els (Rsa) 70 69, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 68 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 72 67, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 69, Richard Bland 68 71, Peter Whiteford 65 74, David Howell 70 69, Daniel Im (USA) 69 70, Ashley Chesters 69 70, Andrew Dodt (Aus) 71 68, George Coetzee (Rsa) 69 70, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 69 70, Lee Slattery 69 70, Phil Mickelson (USA) 70 69, David Drysdale 69 70, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 70 69
140 S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 71 69, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 74 66, Darren Clarke 71 69Matthias Schwab (Aut) 67 73, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 73 67, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 70 70, Peter Uihlein (USA) 72 68, Julian Suri (USA) 69 71, Sebastien Gros (Fra) 71 69, Ryan Evans 71 69, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 72 68
141 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 71 70, Paul Waring 67 74, Daniel Brooks 68 73, Callum Shinkwin 70 71, Matthew Baldwin 75 66, Kevin Chappell (USA) 69 72, Renato Paratore (Ita) 73 68, Andy Sullivan 71 70, Romain Wattel (Fra) 68 73, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 71, Austin Connelly (Can) 72 69
142 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 71 71, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 71 71, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 68 74
143 Matt Wallace 71 72, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 72 71, Jamie Donaldson 71 72, Sam Brazel (Aus) 70 73
144 Carlos Pigem (Spa) 69 75, Padraig Harrington 73 71Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 72 72
145 Conor O’Neil 72 73
146 David Lipsky (USA) 73 73
148 Jason Norris (Aus) 74 74, Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 70 78, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 71 77
150 Brett Rumford (Aus) 72 78

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