Rory McIlroy surrendered the lead at the Scottish Open with his latest second-round meltdown on Friday, leaving three little-known players tied for first place on a day when brutal winds played havoc with the field at Aberdeen.
Kristoffer Broberg of Sweden, Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and Marc Warren of Scotland were atop the leaderboard at six-under-par 136, with only 17 of 150 players shooting below 70 on the par-71 Royal Aberdeen links course.
McIlroy shot a course-record 64 in the first round but followed it up with a 78, continuing a worrying trend this season that has seen the former world No. 1 fail to build on strong starts.
“Having to talk about it, it’s always being brought up, it’s sort of in your mind,” a frustrated McIlroy said after falling six shots behind.
Justin Rose shrugged off the effects of hay fever to sign for a 68 and was alone in fourth place, a shot behind the trio of leaders.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson was among the afternoon starters who had to deal with a punishing breeze, especially on the back nine. A 73, which left him at one under, was something of an achievement but left him “mentally drained” just a week before the defense of his British Open title.
“I’m a little concerned that it’s taking up a little bit more energy than I’d like ahead of next week,” Mickelson said. “But it’s also a good opportunity to focus on the more difficult shots that we’ll have next week. So it kind of goes both ways.”
Englishmen Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were among those missing the cut.
Mo Martin took two putts from short of the green on the par-five 18th hole for her 10th birdie in two rounds, and her second three-under 69 at the Women’s British Open.
That gave the American a three-shot lead over Beatriz Recari of Spain and former U.S. Open champion So Yeon Ryu going into the weekend at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.
Meanwhile, U.S. Open champion Michelle Wie followed her highest score of the year (75) with one that was even worse, a 78 to miss the cut by three shots.
Wie was among the favorites. It was easy to overlook the 31-year-old Martin, one of the shortest hitters in women’s golf, who has never won an LPGA Tour event and is playing links golf for only the third time.
Martin was at six-under 138, one of only two players to break par in both rounds. Ryu was the other, overcoming a double bogey on her second hole by not dropping a shot the rest of the way. She shot 70 and was at three-under 141. Recari, who arrived at Birkdale with a sore wrist that she attributed to no one helping her carry her luggage in the airport, birdied the last three holes for a 67.
Only nine players were under par when the cut was made at 6-over 150.
Colin Montgomerie shot an even-par 71 at Oak Tree and remains in front after the second day at the U.S. Senior Open at Edmond, Okla.
The Scotsman is six under for the tournament, good for a one-stroke lead over Scott Dunlap.
Dunlap had a 68 in the second round. He birdied Nos. 2, 5 and 7 on his way to a three-under 32 on the front nine.
Bernhard Langer took sole possession of the lead with a birdie on 14, but he made bogeys on 15, 16 and 18 to finish tied for third at four under. He is tied with Gene Sauers, who shot 69 on both the first two days.
Birdies were hard to come by elsewhere, but they were everywhere at the John Deere Classic, where William McGirt and Zach Johnson were tied at 12 under after two rounds.
McGirt, looking for his first victory, birdied six of the first eight holes on the front nine en route to a 66, and Johnson, the former Masters champion, followed his 63 with a 67.