Halfway hut at the Scottish Open: Red-hot Rahm tied at the top

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at the Renaissance Club where Spaniard Jon Rahm shares the lead on 11-under.

Best Bet

1pt treble John Rahm, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter to win 3rd Rd 3 Balls at 11/1 at Planetsportbet

Life is pretty sweet for new dad and freshly-crowned US Open champion Jon Rahm at the moment.

Having landed a first Major title, he arrived in Scotland trying to hone his game for a big tilt at another - next week's Open Championship at Royal St Georges.

And after 36 holes of this week's Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club everything looks to be working out perfectly.

The imposing Spaniard shares the lead in a field packed full of quality names after rounds of 66 and 65, his 11-under total matched by two players trying to secure a first European Tour win - Belgian Thomas Detry and England's Jack Senior.

Perhaps the only gripe for Rahm is that it's been too easy so far. Mostly benign weather has made the first two rounds on Scotland's 'golf coast' an extremely pleasant experience.

But they're not the sort of conditions Rahm wanted to battle-harden himself for next week's Claret Jug shootout down on the windy Kent coast.

Still, another victory would send a serious message to his Open rivals: Rahm has one Major in the bag and, in his current form, can anyone stop him making it two?

Not that the 26-year-old can take anything for granted this week just yet.

Lee Westwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick are just a shot back on -10, World No.5 Justin Thomas is three in arrears at -8 and the bunch at -7 includes links specialist Padraig Harrington and young Texan Scottie Scheffler.

Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton lurk at -6 while World Nos.3 and 4, Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa, won't be giving this up yet. They're at -5 alongside local hero Robert MacIntyre.

And yet for all that quality bubbling under, Rahm is the red-hot favourite to take victory. It's hard to blame the bookies for thinking anything else.

However, it hasn't gone Rory McIlroy's way this week.

After a flat week (tied 59th) in his home Irish Open, Rory was hoping for a confidence booster ahead of Royal St George's but he missed the cut after rounds of 70-71 to finish at 1-under.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from the Renaissance Club after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

Rahm has made 15 birdies over his first two rounds and is 6-under on the four par 5s.

Rahm has yet to convert a halfway lead on either the European or PGA Tour. His eventual finishing positions when leading after 36 holes are 3-4-3-7-WD. The withdrawal came at the recent Memorial Tournament when he was two clear at halfway and six in front after 54 holes before being forced to pull out due to a positive COVID test.

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Detry had the halfway lead in this year's Dubai Desert Classic after two opening 67s but shot 74-72 on the weekend to finish in a tie for ninth. He did convert his only 36-hole lead on the Challenge Tour thanks to closing laps of 69-63 in the 2016 Bridgestone Challenge.

Detry has made just a single bogey so far.

Senior has never had a piece of the 36-hole lead at this level. He has managed three halfway leads on the Challenge Tour but didn't convert any, finishing 4-21-3.

Scheffler's 8-under 63 on day two is the lowest round of the week so far. The American is making his first start in Scotland.

Quotes

Here's what some of the leading players said after Friday's play

Jon Rahm on his fast start on Friday and play so far

"I think we were fortunate the first seven, eight holes, really no wind at all, right. So when you play on a links golf course with no wind, you can make some birdies.

"I was enjoying some really good iron play, hitting it close, and as hard as it is to believe, 7-under through 10, I could have made a couple more putts because they were not long. When the wind picked up, and playing 2 through 4 or 2 through 5, the starting line changed, so I feel like it was a little bit of adjustment in that sense.

"I would say through the whole tournament yesterday and today, maybe short game needs to be a little bit better, when I miss a green, give myself better chances for par. You know, hopefully clean up a couple mistakes."

Thomas Detry on being a big fan of the Renaissance Club

"I really love the golf course. I've got great vibes coming into this week. I think I shot the lowest round last Sunday, like in October last year, joint lowest-round with Aaron Rai who obviously won.

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"So yeah, many good vibes out here. Got off to a great start, same yesterday, as well. It's all very nice and hopefully I can keep it going."

Jack Senior on hoping for more testing weather

"I'm still wearing a t-shirt when everyone is wrapped in waterproofs. It's similar to what I'm used to and grown up playing in. At the end of the day, if it blows a little more I'm not going to be phased by that."

Matt Fitzpatrick on his Friday 66

"Lots of fairways, lots of greens, limiting the mistakes, playing to the fat side if you're out of position. That's been the big thing. It's not really been a flurry of birdies, just been slow and steady and throwing them in there every other hole. Yeah, it's been a good day.

George Coetzee on keeping it simple

"I'm actually just trying to bomb it out there, have fun. I'm not really too meticulous about what I'm doing this week. I'm just trying to enjoy the golf for a change."

Lee Westwood on just having fun

"Yeah, I'm enjoying it. I get to get up every day and do something I love and my swing feels in a good place and you've seen how I'm putting, I'm rolling my fair share and when that happens, I feel like I'm a good enough player to still contend.

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"Yeah, and it's even better with (son) Sam on the bag, and (wife) Helen when she caddies."

Ian Poulter on his play so far and looking ahead to The Open

"I think my game is in good shape. I'm hitting a lot of decent shots, giving myself plenty of chances. I like coming to play links golf and to have a little warmer for probably a sterner test next week, thicker rough, fairways lined with bunkers, bouncier fairways. It's good to get a bit of early prep in and kind of just feel your way into next week."

Scottie Scheffler on enjoying links golf

"This is my first time over here. Haven't played before. I don't know, I really like it. I like how firm it is. I like how you have to hit a bunch of different shots. My caddie gives me the number and I try to find slopes around the pin and go from there.

"I feel like I have a lot of options around here, which I like. I feel like I can always find a shot that I'm comfortable with. I feel like in the States, grain dictates a lot of what you have to do around the green and here, there's virtually no grain. You can kind of skip it or flop it or do whatever you like."

Justin Thomas on wanting to improve irons

"I didn't quite get much out of it today but I just got to start hitting my irons and approach shots closer to the hole. Drove the ball nicely today and not taking advantage. One of those days where I was between clubs a lot and had a couple things not quite go my way.

"I've had some good and some bad and just it's kind of been an average couple days or just not really much fireworks, not much bad but just a couple things I need to tighten up on."

Social

David Law's near ace, Justin Thomas' dad becomes the target, Horschel's great reaction to his birdie, Rahm's fantastic front nine and a putting masterclass from MacIntyre, Morikawa and Westwood. 

Law goes inches away from a hole-in-one!

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JT goes to see his dad earlier than expected

Horschel couldn't believe his eyes

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Rahm continues to impress

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Putting on a show

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READ MORE: Rory ready to bounce back and win second Open Championship

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