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Record-breaker Robert Rock leads Scottish Open, eyes Carnoustie

GULLANE, Scotland — Robert Rock was already heading to Carnoustie subsequent week to work at The Open in a training capability.

He would possibly now must take his golf equipment.

Rock, ranked No. 244, set the report for the bottom 36-hole complete because the Scottish Open was launched by the European Tour in 1972, including a 7-under 63 within the second spherical Friday to his 64 on Day 1. So far, he has made 13 birdies and never dropped a shot.

Not solely did it give the English golfer a two-shot lead on 13-under 127 at Gullane, it additionally gave him an important likelihood of incomes one of many remaining qualification spots for The Open simply up the east coast of Scotland.

“It’s every little thing for me,” Rock stated.

On a day when gamers shot low scores due to an absence of wind, the course report was damaged twice by Connor Syme of Scotland (62) after which Hideto Tanihara of Japan (61). The format has solely been performed as soon as earlier than, on the Scottish Open in 2015.

Tyrrell Hatton (64) and unheralded Swede Jens Dantorp (65) had been the closest challengers to Rock. Eddie Pepperell (63) and Rickie Fowler (66), the winner at Gullane three years in the past, had been a shot additional again.

One of golf’s extra nattily dressed gamers, Rock is most well-known for overcoming Tiger Woods in a last-group, final-round shootout on the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in 2012. That stays the second and most up-to-date skilled win for a participant who by no means wears a golf hat and seemingly by no means has a hair misplaced.

Nowadays, the 41-year-old Rock — a former membership professional — has began teaching once more. Among his part-time pupils are Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and up-and-coming English participant Matt Wallace, whose two wins this yr have secured a spot at The Open for the primary time.

“My job is to be there with him (Wallace) and assist him put together. I used to be trying ahead to that anyway,” Rock stated, earlier than including with a smile: “But I might like to play there, in fact.”

To try this, he must be one of many main three gamers to complete within the prime 10 and ties who usually are not in any other case exempt for Carnoustie. And that is removed from assured with Gullane as defenseless because it has been this week.

Hatton, more likely to be in Europe’s Ryder Cup group in opposition to the United States in Paris in September, opened with a 65 and has solely made one bogey this week.

Dantorp, who’s taking part in in his second full yr on the tour and has just one top-10 end, went down No. 18 needing a birdie to tie the lead. He made a bogey, his first of the week.

Tanihara was 9 below par for his spherical after 15 holes and required two extra birdies to grow to be the primary participant in European Tour historical past to shoot a 59. He may solely par his means dwelling, however that also meant Syme’s 62 from the morning was the course report for about eight hours.

Defending champion Rafa Cabrera Bello missed the reduce, which got here at four below, after a 67 left him on 1 below. Also sidelined on the weekend can be Phil Mickelson (69, for 1 below general) and Hideki Matsuyama (70, for two below general).

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