Manassero shapes up for Italian duel with Molinari

Teenager hits seven birdies on last nine at Scottish Open while Mickelson finds form

Teenager Matteo Manassero, twice a winner on the European Tour already, is in the hunt for another victory – and a place in the Open – after a 64 at Castle Stuart yesterday.

With fellow Italian Francesco Molinari able to follow up his first-round 62 with only a 70, Manassero's scintillating seven birdies in the last nine holes took him only one off the lead in the Scottish Open.

The Tour's youngest-ever champion could qualify for Royal Lytham next week with a top-five finish, but his sights are on emulating what German Marcel Siem did at the French Open last Sunday by winning to earn his spot.

"The Open is on my mind and this is my last chance," said the 19-year-old from Verona, who stands 11 under par at halfway.

Molinari had a triple bogey seven on the 464-yard seventh to allow Swede Alex Noren to join him out in front after a second successive 66 the day after his 30th birthday and the day after his girlfriend Emelie won an event in Norway.

Argentina's big-hitting Ricardo Gonzalez is joint third with Manassero, while world No 1 and defending champion Luke Donald's 68 means he has only three shots to make up and Phil Mickelson's 64 brought him just five back. With 2009 winner Martin Kaymer alongside Donald and Padraig Harrington six under, the final 36 holes has all sorts of possibilities still.

Mickelson's 64 yesterday might not have brought him the same satisfaction as his last one, but it still tasted sweet. Five months ago he had Tiger Woods as his playing partner at Pebble Beach and, while Woods crashed to a 75, he charged to victory from six behind.

At Castle Stuart this time the performance lifted the American from the depths of 123rd – in danger of missing the halfway cut – into contention on seven under par.

There was an element of relief about it a week before the Open Championship because it ended a run of eight successive over-par rounds, something that had never happened to him before.

After improving nine strokes on his opening round, Mickelson, who pitched in from 60 yards for an eagle two on his very first hole, said: "I'm really glad I added this tournament."

The left-hander was on holiday with his family in Italy when he decided to seek an invitation on Saturday and, luckily for him, there was one available.

"I just needed to play more – I've only played three tournaments the last couple of months.

"It's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly. I'm very lucky because I've got a very supportive family and when I was thinking about adding it after missing the cut last week [my wife] Amy had the same idea simultaneously.

"It was very important that I have a couple more rounds here. It will give a chance now on the weekend to have a couple more days of working on it.

Paul Lawrie suffered a blow to his Ryder Cup hopes by missing the cut in the Scottish Open, although he praised the work of his stand-in caddie – 16-year-old son Craig.

The 43-year-old from Aberdeen, who last represented Europe in 1999 two months after winning the Open, needed a replacement for the week because the wife of his regular bag-man Dave Kenny was expecting.

After rounds of 73 and 69 a, Lawrie – third in the cup standings with six weeks of qualifying to go – said: "Craig did brilliant. He did everything a caddie could do and he enjoyed it. He said it was pretty cool – even with his dad putting like that."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?