GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Robert Rock was two strokes clear at the top of the Scottish Open leaderboard after a second day that saw the Gullane course record twice broken in the cool and calm conditions.
The Englishman completed a bogey-free first 36 holes, adding a seven-under 63 to Thursday’s 64 to put himself in strong contention to qualify for next week’s British Open at Carnoustie.
Three slots remain available to the highest-placed players yet to secure qualification.
The 244th-ranked player’s 13-under total of 127 was the lowest on the European Tour this season.
Compatriot Tyrrell Hatton (64) shared second with Sweden’s Jens Dantorp (65), who could have been ahead but hit a bogey at the last.
Japan’s Hideto Tanihara had looked like carding the European Tour’s first 59 but had to settle instead for a course record 61. Scotland’s Connor Syme, who turned 23 years old on Wednesday, had already gone round in a record 62 before then.
England’s Eddie Pepperell and American Rickie Fowler, the 2015 winner at Gullane, shared fourth on 10 under with England’s Lee Westwood in a four-man group on nine under.
Five times major champion Phil Mickelson, the 2013 champion, meanwhile will be able to focus fully on Carnoustie after missing the Scottish cut for the first time since 2010 and fourth time in 15 appearances.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis