There’s hot. There’s white hot. And then there’s whatever Jon Rahm currently is.
Making his first start since he won his maiden major at last month’s US Open, the world No.1 is tied for the lead at the halfway stage of the abrdn Scottish Open.
Rahm, 27, posted a superb six-under 65 on day two at The Renaissance to get to 11-under after 36 holes, where he is joined by first round leader Jack Senior and Belgium’s Thomas Detry.
English duo Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick are tied on ten-under alongside South African George Coetzee, with Spain’s Alvaro Quiros a further shot adrift on nine-under.
Aberdonian David Law is the leading Scot. He sits eight-under alongside world No.3 Justin Thomas, Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter and Alvaro Quiros.
Rahm, bidding to become just the second Spaniard to win the Scottish Open after Rafa Cabrera Bello in 2017, got off to a blistering start early on day two. He was seven-under through his first ten holes before stumbling a little coming home.
“I think we were fortunate the first seven, eight holes, really no wind at all,” he said. “So when you play an a links golf course with no wind, you can make some birdies.
“I was enjoying some really good iron play, hitting it close, and as hard as it is to believe, seven-under through ten, I could have made a couple more putts.
“But you're always going to struggle through a couple holes and I tried to minimise as much as possible.”
What McIlroy would have given for a piece of that.
Instead, he has exactly what he didn’t want as he seeks to end a seven-year major drought at next week’s Open Championship: a weekend off.
The Northern Irishman, whose second round got off to a peculiar start when a spectator helped himself to a club from his bag on the opening hole, could only manage a level-par round of 71, two bogeys in his final six holes consigning him to a one-under total – a shot outside the cut line.
Amongst the other big names not advancing to the weekend are major champions Jimmy Walker, Danny Willett and Graeme McDowell, as well as 2018 Ryder Cup-winning captain Thomas Bjorn.