Robert is steady as a Rock
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.