Padraig Harrington heads in to the weekend as part of a three-way tie for the lead at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, where Rory McIlroy suffered an early exit.
Harrington fired a four-under 68 at Dundonald Links to set the clubhouse target at nine under, which Callum Shinkwin matched and Germany’s Alexander Knappe also got to with a round-of-the-day 65.
Ian Poulter joins Andrew Dodt one off the pace at the halfway stage and Rickie Fowler is part of the group on seven under, while McIlroy’s pre-Open form was hampered by a third missed cut in four starts.
Beginning the day two strokes back from overnight leader Mikko Ilonen, Harrington birdied the 14th and rolled in a close-range gain at the first before holing from 15 feet at the par-four next.
Harrington posted a two-putt birdie from the fringe at the fifth and closed out his blemish-free round with four pars, as Shinkwin mixed six birdies with two bogeys to also get to nine under.
“It was very good, I played very well today,” Shinkwin said. “A couple of missed putts on the two par-threes, but other than that it was very cool.”
Knappe was six under after six holes with four birdies and an eagle from the 11th, before he bounced back from blemishes at the second and fourth to pick up shots on three of his final five holes.
A final-hole bogey saw Dodt slip in to the share of fourth with Poulter, while Fowler is joined two off the lead by Gregory Havret and Nicolas Colsaerts.
Matt Kuchar posted a two-under 70 to move inside the top 10 and former major champion Adam Scott sits five off the pace, with Henrik Stenson birdieing three of his final six holes to get to three under.
McIlroy, needing a fast start after his opening-round 74, reached the turn in 33 but double-bogeyed the 13th to sign for a one-under 71 and miss the cut by two strokes.