Missed cut a wake-up call after fan incident, as Sharvin eyes Major spot
Bizarre spectator incident aside, Rory McIlroy won’t be remembering day two of the abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club fondly.
And because it happened so early in his round, the Holywood man can’t even fall back on the club-stealing fan as an excuse, as what was supposed to be a four-day tune-up ahead of next week’s Open Championship has turned into a two-day wake-up call before he heads to Royal St George’s.
After a one-under 70 in his opening round on Thursday, McIlroy would have needed at least the same yesterday to reach the weekend, but two bogeys in his last six holes ended hopes of that, the World No.11 missing the cut by one after a level-par 70.
Not the ideal warm-up for his final shot of the year at ending his Major wait, and he’ll no doubt be equally frustrated that, while he struggled, playing partners Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas were a combined 19 under.
Even more worrying is that the stats offer little solace. On a links course, where accuracy off the tee is vital for attacking pins, McIlroy’s driving accuracy was just 46.2% and he averaged 1.8 putts per green in regulation, which was 93rd in the field.
If he had work to do after last week’s Irish Open, then he has even more to improve on heading to Sandwich after missing the cut in a field much closer in strength to what he will face in a week’s time.
There were better fortunes for Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin as he carded a five-under 66 in his second round to get to six under overall, which is five shots off the lead — held by Rahm, Belgium’s Thomas Detry and World Invitational champion Jack Senior — but, maybe more importantly, just four back of the final qualifying spot for The Open.
Sharvin was bogey-free yesterday and had three consecutive birdies at one point, and with a good weekend could potentially book a place at Royal St George’s this week as well as putting himself in contention for the win.
The final Open spot is currently held by South Africa’s George Coetzee at 10 under, with Detry and Senior holding the other two, but Sharvin admits he is simply delighted to be in the mix going into the final two rounds.
“It’s great for your confidence. Obviously the week before The Open means there’s a lot of really good players here,” he said.
“I’m just happy to be competing, but obviously playing well too, which is nice. It’s always nice to test your game against the best in the world. I feel like the last few days it’s stood up really well, so hopefully it can stick like that for the weekend.”
Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell and Jonathan Caldwell saw their hopes of qualifying for The Open end after missing the cut at three over and eight over respectively.
Elsewhere, US Open champion Rahm warned his rivals he still has room for improvement after playing the first 10 holes of his second round in seven under before playing his final seven holes in one over to share the lead at 11 under.
“Those first 10 holes I played incredibly. I had more short putts that could have been made. They were clearly birdie chances. That’s not always going to happen,” said Rahm.
“After that the elements changed and I was playing some holes in a wind I’d never played before. I got a little hesitant.
“I made some aggressive swings without thinking about it as much as I could have because I was playing so well and maybe could have taken a step back. Swing-wise it’s good. If I just clean up some little mistakes it could be better.”