Brooks three clear of the pack

Daniel Brooks will take a three-shot lead over a large chasing pack into the third round of the Scottish Open at Gullane.

The Englishman first came to prominence when he claimed his maiden title at last year’s Madeira Islands Open in Portugal – though his victory was overshadowed by the death of Alastair Forsyth’s caddie, Iain McGregor, of a heart attack during play.

Brooks followed up a superb opening-round 64 with another quality round of five-under-par 65 to be the clear standout on 11 under par.

That was three strokes clear of a large group of six players tied for second place on eight under.

“I played really solid and I’ve not missed many shots at all,” said Brooks, who had an eagle, one bogey and four birdies, including an effort from 25 feet on the 18th.

“The last three weeks now; Germany, I started playing nicely, just missed the cut there but played some nice golf. France, I had a load of silly mistakes, bogeys. Cutting them out this week and it’s worked out nicely so far.

“It’s hard to miss that many cuts. It does get you down. It only takes one good week out here and hopefully that’s what I’ll have.

“I’ve been there, done it, hopefully can have a good weekend and see what happens.”

The group includes former US Open champion Justin Rose, American Ryan Palmer and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Rose and McDowell both shot second successive four-under-par 66s, while Palmer added a 67 to an opening 65.

Rose wasn’t entirely happy with his round, and believed he was only running “at 50%”, but added: “There are still a couple of loose shots that I am getting away with on this course that I wouldn’t on other courses.

“But I feel like I have managed my game well, played the hard holes well and kept it clean.”

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is another player on the eight under mark after a pair of 66s.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello is among a group of five players on seven under that includes Richard McEvoy and Tommy Fleetwood.

Americans Rickie Fowler, the Players champion, and Matt Kuchar are part of an 11-man group on six under, as is veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Fresh off his solid showing at the US Open, South African Branden Grace follows on five under, as does Jimmy Walker.

Rounds of 69 and 68 left Phil Mickelson on three under par, eight shots off the lead.