Record-breaker Rock leads Scot­tish Open, eyes Carnoustie

The Beacon Herald - - SPORTS - STEVE DOU­GLAS

GUL­LANE, Scot­land — Robert Rock was al­ready head­ing to Carnoustie next week to work at the Bri­tish Open in a coach­ing ca­pac­ity.

He might now have to take his clubs.

Rock, ranked No. 244, set the record for the low­est 36-hole to­tal since the Scot­tish Open was launched by the Euro­pean Tour in 1972, adding a 7-un­der 63 in the sec­ond round Fri­day to his 64 on Day 1. So far, he has made 13 birdies and not dropped a shot.

Not only did it give the English golfer a two-shot lead on 13-un­der 127 at Gul­lane, it also gave him a great chance of earn­ing one of the fi­nal qual­i­fi­ca­tion spots for the Bri­tish Open just up the east coast of Scot­land.

“It’s ev­ery­thing for me,” Rock said.

On a day when play­ers shot low scores be­cause of a lack of wind, the course record was bro­ken twice — by Con­nor Syme of Scot­land (62) and then Hideto Tani­hara of Ja­pan (61). The lay­out has only been played once be­fore, at the Scot­tish Open in 2015.

Tyrrell Hat­ton (64) and un­her­alded Swede Jens Dan­torp (65) were the clos­est chal­lengers to Rock. Ed­die Pep­perell (63) and Rickie Fowler (66), the win­ner at Gul­lane three years ago, were a shot fur­ther back.

One of golf’s more nat­tily dressed play­ers, Rock is most fa­mous for over­com­ing Tiger Woods in a last group, fi­nal-round shootout at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Cham­pi­onship in 2012. That re­mains the sec­ond and most re­cent pro­fes­sional win for a player who never wears a golf hat and seem­ingly never has a hair out of place.

Nowa­days, the 41-year-old Rock — a for­mer club pro — has started coach­ing again. Among his part­time pupils are Ry­der Cup cap­tain Thomas Bjorn and up-and-com­ing English player Matt Wal­lace, whose two wins this year have se­cured a place at the Open for the first time.

“My job is to be there with him (Wal­lace) and help him pre­pare. I was look­ing for­ward to that any­way,” Rock said, be­fore adding with a smile: “But I’d love to play there, of course.”


Eng­land’s Robert Rock waits to putt, on the 17th dur­ing day two of the Scot­tish Open at Gul­lane Golf Club, in East Lothian, Scot­land, Fri­day. The No. 244 ranked golfer set a record for the low­est 36-hole to­tal in the his­tory of the Scot­tish Open.

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