Robert is steady as a Rock

Sport360 - - Super Rugby - By Phil Casey @philcasey

Six years af­ter beat­ing Tiger Woods head-to-head, Eng­land’s Robert Rock achieved an­other per­sonal mile­stone to claim the half­way lead in the Scot­tish Open.

Rock added a sec­ond round of 63 to his open­ing 64 at a de­fence­less Gul­lane for a half­way to­tal of 13 un­der par and two-shot lead over com­pa­triot Tyrrell Hat­ton and Swe­den’s Jens Dan­torp, with Ed­die Pep­perell and 2015 cham­pion Rickie Fowler an­other stroke back.

Lee West­wood was part of a fourstrong group on nine un­der, with for­mer Masters cham­pion Trevor Im­mel­man on eight un­der par along­side first-round leader Luke List. Rock, 41, has not dropped a shot over the first 36 holes for the first time in his ca­reer and is in pole po­si­tion to se­cure one of the three qual­i­fy­ing places on of­fer for next week’s Open Cham­pi­onship, al­though he will be in Carnoustie any­way in his role as coach to a num­ber of fel­low play­ers.

“I’ve started well in a few tour­na­ments re­cently but it’s all about putting four rounds to­gether and that’s the chal­lenge,” said Rock, whose last Euro­pean Tour ti­tle came in Abu Dhabi in 2012, where he played the fi­nal round along­side Woods and outscored the world num­ber one by two, with Rory McIl­roy fin­ish­ing run­ner-up and Woods in a tie for third.

“Get­ting into the Open is ev­ery­thing, but you have to fo­cus on this event first and play the course here be­fore that. I hate miss­ing the Open. I’ll be there what­ever hap­pens as a coach but it’s hard go­ing just as a coach and not play­ing.”

Hat­ton won the Dun­hill Links in 2016 and 2017 and re­vealed an­other vic­tory here would be a wel­come boost for his mother Karen, who lives near In­ver­ness and is re­cov­er­ing at home af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery to re­move a tu­mour in her lung.

“It was lucky they caught it early,” Hat­ton said. “She will be watch­ing on TV and I’ll try my best to be up there come Sunday.”

De­spite adding a bo­gey-free 64 to his open­ing 65, Hat­ton was far from sat­is­fied with his ball-strik­ing, adding: “Me and the driv­ing range aren’t friends so I’ll stay away from that.”

Lead­ing the way: Robert Rock.

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