The leaderboard at the Aberdeen Asset Management is a tight one - except for the gap after the name at the top. Here's how things look at the halfway point at Gullane, where an unheralded Englishman leads by three shots:
Leaderboard: Daniel Brooks (-11), Justin Rose (-8), Shane Lowry (-8), Ryan Palmer (-8), Graeme McDowell (-8), Johan Carlsson (-8), Matthew Nixon (-8), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-7)
What it means: Brooks was a surprising name on the early leaderboard, but he followed a 64 with a 5-under 65. The 28-year-old had missed 13 straight cuts before a T-20 finish last week in France, but he has made only one bogey through 36 holes and now holds an advantage over a host of big names that includes Rose, the event's defending champion.
Round of the day: Joost Luiten appeared headed for an early exit after a 1-over 71, but the Dutchman rebounded with a bogey-free 63 to move up 89 spots in the standings. Luiten made five birdies en route to an outward 30 and will now begin the third round in a tie for 13th, five shots behind Brooks.
Best of the rest: No one started more quickly than Felipe Aguilar, who played his first six holes in 6 under including a hole-in-one on No. 3. Aguilar went out in 30 and added another birdie coming home for a 6-under 64, a nine-shot improvement for the Chilean who moved from 3 over to 3 under.
Biggest disappointment: Golf is a fickle game, and Thorbjorn Olesen can attest to that fact. After an opening-round 63 gave the Dane the lead, Olesen didn't make a single birdie en route to a 7-over 77. Olesen made a double bogey on No. 5 and added five bogeys after that, making the unenviable slide from overnight leader to a missed cut.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: Brooks remains an unknown commodity, but there are plenty of known players in the group chasing him. That list includes Rose, who won last year at Royal Aberdeen and has carded back-to-back 66s, Palmer, the top American through two rounds who has had a strong year in the U.S., and McDowell, who appears to be finding his game just in time for the Open Championship.
Shot of the day: Aguilar birdied each of his first two holes before jarring an 8-iron from 170 yards for an ace on No. 3. It helped him to a front-nine 30 - despite two bogeys.
Quote of the day: "It's nice to putt on greens that actually have grass on them." - Phil Mickelson, who has shot rounds of 69-68 in his first start since a T-64 finish at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.