Harrington shares lead, McIlroy misses cut

IRVINE, United Kingdom: Padraig Harrington shared the halfway lead at the Scottish Open on Friday as Rory McIlroy remained optimistic for next week’s British Open at Royal Birkdale despite missing the cut.
Harrington, who won the Open at Birkdale in 2008, shot a second-round 68 on Friday to take control at Dundonald Links on nine-under par with Callum Shinkwin and little-known German Alexander Knappe.
But McIlroy struggled for a second-round 71 to add to his opening 74 for a one-over total of 145 on a rain-softened course just to the south of Glasgow.
The world number four produced birdies at the third, fifth and seventh to move one under but then failed at a first attempt to get out of a greenside bunker in taking a double bogey on 13.
It is the second week in succession and also a third occasion in his last four events McIlroy has sat out the weekend rounds.
Instead, McIlroy will now head south to Royal Birkdale, and next week’s 146th British Open host venue, for what will be unscheduled weekend practice rounds. And after two separate injury concerns earlier this year and far less fairway time, McIlroy admits he is far short of competition. “No, I have not had far enough competitive rounds this year with my injuries and I have missed a lot of events,” he said.
“You just can’t mess with an injury and come back too early, so I missed a lot of play because of that and I have been playing catch-up all year because of that.”
“So, I would have loved to have played more rounds not just going into next week but for the whole season.”
‘No stress’
However McIlroy believes there is enough good signs in his game to be optimistic heading to Birkdale in a goal of capturing a fifth Major championship.
“I am not getting to play the weekend but again, I would be much more worried if I went out there and shot a couple of 76s and I was nowhere near trying to make the cut or not,” he said. “The difference between shooting one under par and four or five under par is not much of a difference as I played the front nine today in three under and felt pretty good.” “Look, it is what it is and I just have to get myself ready for next week.”
Meanwhile Harrington, who is clearly excited about returning to Birkdale, enjoyed a calm second day compared the “stress” on day one when he frantically had to search for a lost ball late in his round.
“Today was just boring. There was no stress. All day, I made two birdies on par 5s and I hit two 7-irons on my 10th and 11th hole, the first and second hole, in pretty close,” he said. England’s Ian Poulter, who finished an Open career best of runner-up to Harrington in 2008, recorded a 69, that included holing a 40-foot birdie, to be sharing fourth place at eight under and just a stroke from the lead. World number 10 Rickie Fowler, with a round of 70, is two shots off the leading trio and sharing sixth at seven under. — AFP
Scottish Open scores
Leading second-round scores on Friday, par 72 (GBR/IRL unless stated):
135 – Padraig Harrington 67-68, Alexander Knappe (GER) 70-65, Callum Shinkwin 67-68
136 – Ian Poulter 67-69, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 67-69
137 – Rickie Fowler (USA) 67-70, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 70-67, Gregory Havret (FRA) 71-66
138 – Matt Kuchar (USA) 68-70, Alexander Levy (FRA) 72-66
139 – David Horsey 71-68, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 65-74, Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 73-66, Kristoffer Broberg (SWE) 69-70
140 – Adam Scott (AUS) 69-71, Stephen Gallacher 68-72, Jason Scrivener (AUS) 72-68, Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN) 69-71, Benjamin Hebert (FRA) 68-72
Selected: 141 – Henrik Stenson (SWE) 72-69; 145 – Rory McIlroy 74-71