A three-under-par 68 catapulted former US Open champion Justin Rose into contention for the Scottish Open at the start of a beautiful but blustery second round at Royal Aberdeen.
The Englishman’s round was the pick of the scores from the early starters and has put him in a great position to win a seventh European Tour title.
Having posted a two-under opening round, Rose started the second day five shots behind overnight leader Rory McIlroy, who set a new course record with a stunning seven-under 64 on day one.
Rose immediately set about eating into the Northern Irishman’s lead, picking up shots at the par-5 second and par-4 fourth. A bogey at the fifth was offset by another birdie at the sixth as he went out in 34.
Playing the back nine in 34 shots – one-under – was arguably even more impressive as the wind has played havoc with scoring on the inward half most of the day. Indeed, only six of the first 33 players to finish their rounds broke par on the homeward stretch.
Several high-profile players will already be packing their bags, including Lee Westwood.
Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello came home in just 32 blows to reach two-under for the tournament, whilst Scotland’s Scott Jamieson made it home in 34 for a round of 67 and a one-under-par aggregate.
With the cut line currently hovering around par, the former Nelson Mandela Invitational champ looks to be safely through to the weekend, as does his compatriot Stephen Gallacher.
However, several high-profile players will already be packing their bags, including Lee Westwood, who shot a two-over 73 to finish on three-over. At six-over, Victor Dubuisson is another early casualty, as is last week’s French Open runner-up Kevin Stadler.
Spare a thought, too, for former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal. The Spaniard has had wretched week in the North East of Scotland. After opening with an 81 yesterday, he could only manage a 77 this morning - which included eight dropped shots in his last five holes.
Leader McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald are amongst the players out on the course this afternoon.
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