One day after posting a record-setting 64 at Royal Aberdeen and leading the Scottish Open by one, Rory McIlroy imploded in 78 on Friday to fall six shots off the pace. Defending champ Phil Mickelson (73) also stumbled coming down the stretch Friday. Here’s how things look through two rounds in Scotland:
What it means: Unfortunately, anyone could have seen McIlroy’s Friday stumble coming from a mile away. In 13 worldwide stroke-play starts this year, McIlroy is 51 under on Thursdays and 9 over on Fridays. Why he continues to play Jekyl and Hyde in the first two rounds is a mystery.
Round of the day: Englishman Paul Waring’s 5-under 66 was the best round of the day by two shots. His round included four birdies, an eagle at the par-5 12th and just one bogey. Four players posted rounds of 3 under, including 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.
Biggest disappointment: Sure, McIlroy’s freaky Fridays is a trend, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. McIlroy already secured a 'W' this season on the European Tour (BMW PGA Championship) and looked poised and prepared to tackle the year's third major next week after the 64 Thursday. We know he's capable of going low, now it's a matter of figuring out how to make his bad days better.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: Thanks to a double bogey on Ricardo Gonzalez's last hole of the day that dropped him back to 6 under, there are 49 players within six shots of the lead including Luke Donald (-2), Mickelson (1 under) and McIlroy (even par). This thing is far from over, and wind direction and conditions could play a large role in how this tihng shakes out over the weekend.
Shot of the day: Luke Donald chipped in for eagle from the right rough about 30 yards shy of the pin on the par-4 fifth hole. The ball landed high and soft, rolled out and dropped into the cup, getting him to 5 under for the tournament and in the mix. Donald would follow that eagle with four bogeys to just one birdie, and ultimately settled on 2-over 73 for the day and into a tie for eighth.
Quote of the day: "I'd be much happier standing here after shooting a couple of 71s, but that's not the case and hasn't been the case all year. I've gotten off to great starts and just fell away." - McIlroy