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Scottish Open: Dundonald Links

Harrington shares lead as McIlroy misses cut


Paul Kiddie

PAUL KIDDIE reports from Dundonald Links

Padraig Harrington will take a share of the lead into the weekend after setting up a three-way tie at the top of the Scottish Open leader board.

The Irishman teed off two shots off the lead but fired a bogey-free 68 to set the target at nine under before he was reeled in by two of the European Tour’s rising stars.

Harrington – a 15-time winner on the European Tour – is playing his 410th European Tour event.

While Alexander Knappe of Germany and England’s Callum Shink win may have just 66 appearances between them, they both put in impressive afternoon performances to share the lead.

Knappe signed for a 65 that matched the lowest round of the week so far while Shinkwin, who missed nine cuts in a row between January and June, carded a 68 as both men went in search of a first victory at the fourth Rolex Series event of the season.

Three-time Major Champion Harrington returns to the scene of his second Open Championship triumph at Royal Birkdale next week, but before that he is looking for a second win in ten months after claiming the Portugal Masters in October.

“There was no stress today,” he said. “All day, I made two birdies on par 5s and I hit two 7 irons on my 10th and 11th holes – the first and second hole – in pretty close. That was my day. It couldn’t have been more opposite to yesterday.

Rory McIlroy (SNS Group)

Rory McIlroy: missed cut (SNS Group)

“I’ve kind of come to the conclusion, I’ve pretty much done what I’ve done in the game of golf. I will win tournaments. I enjoy being out here.

“You know, why bother beating myself up over it. I can do nicely. If I win another major, three majors, four majors, not a huge deal. If you told me I was going to win another six majors, well, okay, that might be a difference.”

England’s Ian Poulter, who finished second to Harrington on Merseyside in 2008, is at eight under alongside Australian Andrew Dodt, and a shot clear of Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, Rickie Fowler of the USA and Frenchman Grégory Havret.

Meanwhile, there was bad news for Scotland’s golf fans hoping to see Rory McIlroy in action over the weekend, the four-time Major winner missing his second cut in a row after a one-under-par 71 left him at one over for the week.

“I’m frustrated but at the same time I thought I saw some good signs out there,” said the Northern Irishman.

“I thought my putting improved this week compared to last week. Wedge play, you know, I hit some better wedges today but there’s still room for improvement.

“I’m just waiting for something. Waiting for something, some sort of spark, just something to go right, and the last couple weeks haven’t been like that. I’ve just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week.

“I’ll probably head down to Birkdale early. Get some early practice rounds in and just try to get myself ready for that golf course and the test that that’s going to provide next week.”

Defending champion Alex Noren, local favourite Russell Knox and American star Patrick Reed are amongst the other players who will not be returning to Dundonald Links this weekend.

SECOND ROUND LEADERBOARD

-9 Padraig Harrington, Callum Shinkwin, Alexander Knappe.

-8 Andrew Dodt, Ian Poulter.

-7 Gregory Havret, Rickie Fowler, Nicolas Colsaerts.

-6 Alexander Levy, Matt Kuchar.

SELECTED OTHERS

-4 Stephen Gallacher, Adam Scott.

-3 Duncan Stewart, Henrik Stenson.

-2 Richie Ramsay, Luke Donald

SELECTED MISSED CUT

Even Russel Knox, Martin Kaymer, Patrick Reed.

+1 Rory McIlroy, David Drysdale

+5 Scott Jamieson.

+6 Scott Henry

+7 Martin Laird

+9 Paul Lawrie, Paul O’Hara, Sandy Scott.

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