July 14, 2018: Robert Rock completed a bogey-free opening 36 holes for the first time in his European Tour career to claim the halfway lead at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open on a day which saw the Gullane course record broken twice.
Rock added a flawless 63 to his opening 64 to record a 13 under par 127 total – the lowest on the European Tour this season.
That was one clear of his fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, with Scotland’s Connor Syme lowering the course record to 62 in the morning before Japan’s Hideto Tanihara carded a 61 late in the day.
Rock, who made five birdies in his first eight holes and then added further gains on the 12th and 16th, said: “My swing didn’t feel as good today but I managed to get a better score out of it which surprising but that is part of the four-round process.
“If you can do that when you don’t feel quite as good, that’s something. That gave me a bit of hope because I know generally, four days, I don’t get four days of everything feeling great.
“I generally have three days of feeling great and one iffy one. I hope this was the iffy one; it might not be, but I’m used to that sort of scenario happening over four days.
“I’m pleased that I managed to turn out a good score and had some things go my way to help me do that” Rock.
Hatton fired a flawless 64, the highlight a chip-in on 15, as he chases a second Rolex Series crown and third title over a Scottish links set-up.
He said: “If I can play like that and score that well, then that’s obviously really good. So I’ll take a bit of confidence from that and hopefully have a good weekend.”
Dantorp threatened to grab a share of the lead when he carded a sixth birdie of the day on the 16th, but a bogey on the last saw him sign for a 65.
“Unfortunately finished with a pretty stupid bogey, but it happens,” he said.
“It’s going to be good fun. Just keep going. Play my game and hopefully I can keep the putter hot over the weekend.”
England’s Eddie Pepperell and American Rickie Fowler share fourth on ten under after rounds of 63 and 66 respectively, with Lee Westwood, Li Haotong, Alexander Bjork and Scott Fernandez completing the top ten on nine under.
India’s Shubhankar Sharma had to sign-off for missing the cut at two-under-par two day total after scoring par 70 in the second round, as the course cut was set for three-under.