Scottish Open: Rory McIlroy falls apart at Royal Aberdeen
Rory McIlroy's challenge for the Scottish Open title at Royal Aberdeen fell apart on Friday as a second-round of seven-over-par 78 left him on level.
McIlroy began day two at the top of the leaderboard after posting a course-record 64 in his opening round.
The two-time major champion could only manage a solitary birdie in his second 18 holes, as he recorded six bogeys and a double bogey in his round.
McIlroy lies six shots behind the leaders and is tied for 34th place.
Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg, Scot Marc Warren and Argentinian Ricardo Gonzalez head the field on six under, the latter squandering a two-shot lead with a double bogey at the last.
Former US Open champion Justin Rose is a further shot adrift on five under.
McIlroy paid the penalty for a disastrous run around the turn when he carded four bogeys and a double bogey seven in the space of seven holes as he struggled in the windy conditions.
In the end, the Northern Irishman had to save par from greenside bunkers on the 17th and 18th to make sure of playing at the weekend.
"It's been the case all year. I've got off to great starts and fell away but I am still in the tournament and I can go out in the morning and try to get some of those shots back," said the 25-year-old.
"You are having to talk about it (his Friday performances) so it's in your mind and I am maybe putting more pressure on myself to shoot a good score. It's another Friday out of the way, thank God, and I can go on to the weekend.
"I shot 68 on the Friday at the US Open so hopefully next week will be the same.
"I just thought everything today was much tougher. When I woke up this morning and went to the gym the wind didn't seem like it was up as much as it is now, so I wasn't expecting this tough a test.
"The wind direction on Thursday was definitely easier but I'm glad that I've seen this wind direction because I think that's what we're going to get again on Saturday. So at least I've played a round in it and I know what to expect."
Michael Hoey is the best placed of the Northern Ireland contingent on two under following a 74, with Ireland's Shane Lowry also two under after firing a 68.
Darren Clarke joins McIlroy on level par after a 73, while Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin just made the cut on two over after shooting 74.
Damien McGrane and Padraig Harrington will miss the cut on one over after posting 72s, but Simon Thornton (+3), Paul McGinley (+7) and Peter Lawrie (+7) all miss the weekend.