Three Irish in contention at Castle Stuart
Golf: Phil Mickelson made a brilliant charge through the field in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart today. Martin Kaymer was back in form, too, while Peter Lawrie briefly took the lead before two late bogeys stalled his charge and left him three off the pace with Shane Lowry.
The pair are two of three Irish remianing in the field after Pádraig Harrington shot a 69 to climb to six under. With the cut at four under, Paul McGinley (two under), Damien McGrane (one over), Simon Thornton (three over) and Gareth Maybin (six over) all bowed out early.
Mickelson was down in 123rd place after an opening 73, but made it all the way to joint 11th place with eight birdies en route to a 64. THat left him five off pacesetters ALexander Noren of Sweden and Francesco Molinari of Italy, who followed up his 62 yesterday with a 70 today.
Ireland’s Lawrie retained his momentum by adding a three under 69 to his first round 66 for a nine under par total. Lowry mirrored that, but was left to rue a costly double bogey at the seventh, having started on the back nine. It could have been so much better for Lawrie, also, as he was 11 under for the tournament, but two bogeys in the final five holes saw him drop back.
For Mickelson his 64 was a dramatic way to end a worrying run of eight successive rounds over par and suddenly the American star was in contention at an event he entered only last Saturday.
The three-time Masters champion left his family on holiday in Rome to add another tournament to his schedule before moving onto Royal Lytham, where he will try next week to improve on his joint runner-up finish behind Darren Clarke last year.
Looking for an early boost when he teed off, he did not have to wait long. His 60-yard pitch to the 10th went into the hole for an eagle two. Mickelson had to wait until the 16th for his next birdie, but then came four in a row around the turn and a pitch to six feet at the long sixth brought him another.
Kaymer, meanwhile, was hitting back from finishing dead last of those who made the cut at the French Open last week. Resuming on five under he had five birdies in six holes from the 11th and after bogeying the short 17th had two more in the next three.
That took Germany’s former world number one, winner of the title at Loch Lomond three years ago, to 11 under par but he too suffered a disappointing finish with two bogeys in the last three holes.
Scot Paul Lawrie missed the cut on two under after a 69.