McIlroy takes one shot lead into weekend Genesis Scottish Open rounds

Fatiha Betscher

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

By Fatiha Betscher, Renaissance Club, Gullane, Scotland 

World No. 3 Rory McIlroy took a rain-softened Route 66 to the top of the leaderboard late on day two of the Genesis Scottish Open as he seeks a first taste of success in the Home of Golf nation.

McIlroy posted five birdies but for a second day running, dropped a shot at the 17th but holds a one-shot lead at 10-under on a bleak-looking host Renaissance course to the east of Edinburgh.


Three players – the South Korean duo of Tom Kim (65) and first round leader Byeong Hun An (70) plus England’s Tyrrell Hatton (62) – share second place at nine-under.

McIlroy, however, was seemingly in no mood for a long post-round fireside chat, walking from the course with a dour-looking face as though someone or something had upset him.

“Well, I hit the ball really well tee-to-green,” he said. “Gave myself a ton of looks. Honestly it felt like 4-under was probably the worst I could have shot out there. But you know, it’s swings and roundabouts. I held a couple of long ones yesterday to shoot a good score, and then missed a couple today, but overall, really pleased with how the last two days have went”.

And there was just one other question to McIlroy, as he strives to capture both a second 2022/23 PGA Tour and 2023 DP World Tour titles, and a first Scottish Open victory.

Q. It obvious to see you played some beautiful golf, maybe a few putts weren’t dropping. When the conditions are so difficult, going out early tomorrow, what’s your mindset?

RORY McILROY: “Just, you know, take whatever the conditions and the golf course are going to give us.

“You know, I don’t really have any expectations. It would be silly of me to try to pick A potential target score to get to.

“So really, just embrace the conditions and just sort of make the best of them. But you know, I know that I’m playing well enough tee-to-green to give myself some looks and hang in there, so I’m pretty confident going into the next two days no matter what the weather throws at us”.

It’s of note that while McIlroy has won around the globe since turning pro at the end of 2007, he’s yet to climb to the victory summit in Scotland.

His Scottish soild record includes a trio of top-4 results in the Open Championship, including a year ago at the 150th Open Championship while he’s knocked on victory a few times in the Dunhill Links Championship finishing top-four on five occcasion starting with his third place finish in the 2007 event that was good enough to earn McIlroy his European Tour card in only a third Tour event as a pro.

Hatton had earlier surged into contention for a first victory in two-and-a-half years with a “stressful” second round of 62.

Asked if his round was as easy as he made it look, Hatton said: “No, it was stressful at times, as most of my rounds are.

“But very happy with the chances I gave myself. I feel I hit a lot of good iron shots today, especially compared to Thursday. Very happy with how that was and nice to see some putts drop, too.

“I had three weeks off after the US Open and you probably saw a little bit on Thursday, I was fatting a few shots.

“I was hitting balls off mats last week and, even though I got here Monday night, I still had not managed to get the ball first. We managed to do that today and hopefully that continues this weekend.”

Rory McIlroy (1st/-10)

  • 11th career 36-hole lead/co-lead on TOUR (5-of-10 to date) and first since the 2020 BMW Championship (T12); 10 second-round leaders/co-leaders have won on TOUR this season
  • With rounds of 64-66, cards a score of 66 or better in each of the first two rounds for the fifth time in his PGA TOUR career; has three wins and a runner-up in the previous four instances

Score of 66 or better in each of the first two rounds in PGA TOUR career

Tournament R1 R2 Finish
2023 Genesis Scottish Open 64 66 TBD
2014 Open Championship 66 66 Won
2014 Honda Classic 63 66 Lost in playoff
2012 Deutsche Bank Championship 65 65 Won
2011 U.S. Open 65 66 Won


  • Third career 36-hole score of 130 or better in PGA TOUR career (others: 129/2014 Honda Classic/P2, 130/2012 Deutsche Bank Championship/Won)
  • Eighth appearance in the Genesis Scottish Open (previous starts at The Renaissance Club: T34/2019, MC/2021)
  • The Open Championship will be held at Royal Liverpool next week for the first time since McIlroy’s victory in 2014

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