Scottish Open: Padraig Harrington shares lead as Rory McIlroy misses cut

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McIlroy upbeat despite poor form
Scottish Open, second round
-9 P Harrington (Ire), C Shinkwin (Eng), A Knappe (Ger); -8 I Poulter (Eng), A Dodt (Aus); -7 R Fowler (US), N Colsaerts (Bel), G Havret (Fra)
Selected others: -4 S Gallacher (Sco), A Scott (Aus); -3 H Stenson (Swe); -2 L Donald (Eng); -1 G McDowell (NI); +1 R McIlroy (NI)
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Ireland's Padraig Harrington moved into a share of the lead at the Scottish Open at Dundonald Links as out-of-form Rory McIlroy again missed the cut.

Harrington, 45, moved to nine under after a 68, level with England's Callum Shinkwin and German Alexander Knappe.

Another Englishman, Ian Poulter, is a stroke back at halfway after a 69.

McIlroy's one-under 71 was not enough to make up for his opening 74 as Northern Ireland's world number four missed a third cut in four events.

With the Open Championship taking place at Royal Birkdale next week, McIlroy's struggles have come at a bad time.

The four-time major winner had not missed successive cuts since May 2015 and briefly looked on course to survive after three birdies in an unblemished front nine.

But a double bogey at the 13th, after he needed two attempts to get out of a greenside bunker, halted his momentum.

McIlroy, who also missed the cut at last week's Irish Open at Portstewart, needed to birdie the 18th to give himself a chance of squeezing into weekend, but he was unable to get up and down from just off the green as he missed an eight-foot putt.

"I'm frustrated but I thought I saw some good signs this week. My putting was definitely improved although my wedges were not quite there," said McIlroy.

"I'm just waiting for something, some sort of spark, something to go right, and the last couple weeks haven't been like that. Just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week."

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy missed an eight-foot putt on the last

'I'm not trying to change my legacy'

Co-leader Harrington enjoyed a bogey-free round as he put himself on course to challenge for a first victory since October's Portugal Masters.

The Irishman followed his dramatic opening 67 - during which he had to search for a lost ball - with a "boring, stress-free" 68.

The world number 169 beat Sergio Garcia in a play-off to win the Open at Carnoustie in 2007 and defended the title at Royal Birkdale the following year, before winning the US PGA a month later.

He then failed to win a significant worldwide tournament for seven years before winning the 2015 Honda Classic as he was on the verge of dropping out of the world's top 300.

But despite a resurgence in form, he is refusing to consider a fourth major win at Birkdale next week.

"Anything that comes my way from here would be a bonus," said Harrington, who has played just nine events in 2017 and had surgery on a trapped nerve in his neck in March.

"I will win tournaments, that's for sure, but I'm not turning up trying to change my legacy. I've kind of come to the conclusion that I've pretty much done what I've done in the game of golf.

"I enjoy being out here. Why bother beating myself up over it? If I win another major... not a huge deal. I've found myself in a better place by deflecting a little bit in that sense."

Shinkwin posted six birdies and two bogeys as he signed for a 68, while Knappe carded a 65 that equalled the lowest round of the week so far.

Poulter, meanwhile, rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt on the way to a 69 that left him one stroke off the lead.

"I putted nicely, again, which is kind of going in the right direction, which is always nice to see a few putts going in and including that lovely putt on 16," said Poulter, who finished an Open career best of runner-up to Harrington in 2008.