Scottish Open: Ernie Els off pace at Castle Stuart

Ernie Els at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. Picture: Getty
Ernie Els at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. Picture: Getty
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Ernie Els today failed to make the fast start he was looking for in the second round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

Els could only card an opening 72 at Castle Stuart that left him in a share of 118th place - eight shots off the lead held by England’s John Parry and six behind world number eight Phil Mickelson.

And three pars this morning meant the four-time major winner remained level par, three shots outside the projected cut mark after 117 of the 156-strong field broke par on the opening day thanks to a total of 33 eagles and 648 birdies.

“If you’re just a little bit off, this course will bite you,” said Els, who made a late decision to finalise his preparation here ahead of the defence of his Open title at Muirfield next week.

“The guys keep saying it’s so easy; I didn’t find it that easy so I don’t know if they’re playing a different course than I am.

“I didn’t feel I played all that badly, just my second shots didn’t quite get it on the right line and I got a couple of awkward bounces here and there.

“But I do love it - it’s a great set-up. It’s what I wanted to come and do, play some links golf. I’ve been to Muirfield a few times now (scene of his first Open triumph in 2002) so I know what the course is like. I’m just trying to work on a couple of things on my game.”

There was at least one South African moving up the leaderboard, however, Garth Mulroy carding birdies at the second, third and fifth to improve to six under par.