Sun Sentinel
European Golf Tour
Clarke pushes lead to three in Scotland



Glasgow, Scotland (Sports Network) - Darren Clarke carded a four-under 67 in steady rain Friday to extend his lead to three strokes after two rounds of the Scottish Open.

Clarke, who led by one after the first round, completed 36 holes at 10-under- par 132. He is seeking his 13th victory on the European Tour and a spot in next week's British Open.

"It wasn't torrential heavy rain, it was just torrential rain," Clarke said of the weather conditions. "If you're from Ireland there's a difference, a massive difference. We knew it was going to be very hard, but obviously at home in Portrush I've had much worse than this."

The 41-year-old is not yet eligible for the season's third major next weekend. If he were to win this week, he would get one of the last available spots in the field at St. Andrews.

Edoardo Molinari posted a two-under 69 in the afternoon and is alone in second at minus-seven. Molinari, and the rest of the afternoon wave, played in much better conditions than Clarke and the early group at Loch Lomond Golf Club.

Bradley Dredge and Peter Hedblom both carded 69s and are tied for third at six-under-par 136. Francesco Molinari also shot two-under 69 and is one stroke back at minus-five.

Further down the leaderboard, there was plenty of news as well.

Phil Mickelson could have overtaken Tiger Woods for the top spot in the world rankings. However, he was done in by a quintuple-bogey nine on the par-four 18th, his ninth on Friday.

Mickelson got a couple of those strokes back, but not enough as he shot three- over 74 to miss the cut by a stroke at three-over-par 145. Also missing the cut on the number were two-time winner Ernie Els and 2009 champion Martin Kaymer.

Clarke played the back nine first on Friday and three-putted for a bogey on No. 11. That was his first and only bogey of the week. He bounced back with a birdie on the 12th and moved to minus-seven with a chip-in birdie at the 16th.

Around the turn, Clarke poured in three birdies in the first four holes to jump to 10-under. His birdies on one and three came from off the green, before he converted from 20 feet out for birdie at the fourth. Clarke closed with five straight pars to lead by three.

"You have to take what the course gives you and try to grind out a score," Clarke said. "Certainly, I'm very pleased to have ground out four-under. I thought anything around level par was going to be pretty good."

Edoardo Molinari parred his first three holes before dropping in a birdie effort on the fourth. He faltered to a bogey on the par-three eighth, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie at the ninth.

The Italian parred the first four holes of the back nine. Molinari birdied the short par-four 14th, a hole in which he eagled one day earlier. The 2005 U.S. Amateur champion stumbled to a bogey on the 16th, but came back to birdie 17 to end three shots off Clarke's lead.

"I think it was a great round today, it was very windy out there. The wind was hurting a lot," Molinari stated. "I am almost happier today than I was with my 66 [Thursday]."

NOTES: Robert-Jan Derksen (68), Damien McGrane (72) and Graeme Storm (72) share sixth at four-under-par 138...The cut fell at two-over 144 with 68 players moving on to the final two rounds...Y.E. Yang, Vijay Singh, Lucas Glover, 2001 champion Retief Goosen, Robert Allenby, European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, 1996 winner Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who has won twice this season, also missed the cut.

07/09 14:59:46 ET