Football might not be coming home but the English are invading golf’s home and leaving their St George cross flags all over the furniture.
Five Englishmen are in the top ten at Gullane in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, led by Robert Rock whose 63 yesterday led to him smashing the record for the halfway point score in the championship by two shots and leading by two.
Little wind and receptive greens – which got a further hosing from passing showers late in the afternoon when Rock was on the tougher back nine – have made Gullane wide open to attack.
Tyrrell Hatton, who has built a reputation as a winter links specialist with successive Alfred Dunhill Links Championship wins, lies in second two behind with Eddie Pepperell, another English winner this year in Qatar, sharing third with Rickie Fowler, the most successful of the big names in the field thus far.
Lee Westwood is just four off the lead to add to the English invasion, although he’s liked Scoitland so much recently that he’s moved to Edinburgh.
Rock hasn’t dropped a shot over two days, and the bad news for the field was that he felt his 63 was “his iffy round” for the week.
“Generally, I don’t get four days of everything feeling great, usuaully it’s three great and one iffy,” said the 41-year-old, whose last win was his famous Abu Dhabi Championship victory over Tiger Woods and is probably better known as a swing coach these days.
“My swing didn’t feel as good today but I got a better score which is surprising. If you can do that when you don’t feel quite as good, that’s something.
“I hope this was the iffy one; it might not be, obviously, but I’m pleased that I managed to turn out a good score and had some things go my way to help me do that.”