Storms and heavy rain brought an early end to the second day’s play at the Barclays Scottish Open on Friday, with former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell in a three-way share of the lead.
Organizers abandoned play at 6.53 p.m. local time, shortly after the afternoon starters had been forced in for a second time after an earlier stoppage of more than two hours. The second round will resume early Saturday.
2011 BARCLAYS SCOTTISH OPEN
The Scottish Open is being played on the links-style layout at Castle Stuart near Inverness for the first time this week.
McDowell shot an 8-under 64 in perfect, still conditions in the morning, leaving him level with Scottish players Scott Jamieson and Peter Whiteford on 11 under par.
Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara (66) was a shot behind the leaders, while Argentina’s Angel Cabrera, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (66) and Lawrie were on 9 under.
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, world Nos. 1 and 2, and British Open hopeful Colin Montgomerie were among those affected by the hold-up. Donald stood 6 under after four holes, while the other two were one better than that -- good enough only for a share of 16th place as the low scoring continued.
McDowell was only tied for 30th when he resumed play on 3 under Friday morning, but had an eagle and two birdies in his first four holes and then added four more birdies.
"We realized conditions were going to be easy and it was going to be there for the taking a little bit," he said. "The course obviously doesn't offer much of a challenge off the tee and there's chances galore, but the greens are tricky."
Although Royal St. George's will be far, far tougher McDowell does not mind the gentle warm-up.
"I think the balance is just right,” he said. “If we had been coming to a brutal test here, maybe you'd be mentally worn out."
Whiteford and Jamieson were both round in 66, but the latter stood four clear at one point and was bitterly disappointed to double bogey his penultimate hole, the 218-yard eighth.
The 27-year-old from Glasgow is in his rookie season on the European Tour, but has already had four top-six finishes.
"It would be a dream to come true to win your first tournament on home soil -- beyond all expectations," he said.
Jamieson does not have a place in the Open field yet, but a top-5 finish on Sunday could do it for him.
Whiteford, three years older and from Kirkcaldy, came through the qualifier at Sunningdale to earn an Open debut in his 15th attempt.
"It's my third year out here, so I know the golf courses and the faces,” he said. “What Scott's doing in my opinion is phenomenal -- every week is a new week to him."
Another Scot -- 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie -- matched McDowell's 64 to charge to 9 under.
Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington and America's world No. 8 Matt Kuchar were 8 under and Ernie Els one further back, while Phil Mickelson had to come home in 32 with an eagle and two birdies for a 67 that lifted him to 4 under.
That was a shot inside the expected cut mark, but that was with half the field still to complete their rounds.
The delay stretched to just over two hours and on the resumption -- with rain still falling -- Westwood bogeyed the seventh and parred the next two for a disappointing outward 37. He was five off the pace, but Donald was only three back when he birdied the fifth and sixth.
Westwood almost holed his approach to the 10th but, after tapping in for birdie there, parring the short 11th and then reaching the edge of the green on the 530-yard 12th in two, play was halted again.