Kildare, Ireland – Robert Rock fired a 6-under 66 in windy conditions on Friday to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of the Irish Open.
Peter Uihlein carded a 4-under 68 at Carton House Golf Club to join Rock atop the leaderboard at 9-under-par 135. They share a 2-stroke lead over five players.
First-round leader Oscar Floren managed a 1-under 71, but dipped into a share of third place at minus-7. He was joined there by Jose Maria Olazabal (69), Ricardo Santos (66), Joost Luiten (70) and Shane Lowry (70).
Raphael Jacquelin (69), Pablo Larrazabal (69) and Scott Henry (64) share eighth at 6-under-par 138.
Rock, who won once in 2010 and 2011, followed Uihlein's group off the 10th tee Friday. Rock opened with a birdie on the 10th to move to minus-4.
The 36-year-old Englishman dropped in back-to-back birdie efforts at 13 and 14. Rock parred the final four holes of that side, then birdied the first to briefly get within one of Uihlein.
Rock, who topped Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in Abu Dhabi in 2012, jumped to 9-under when he made eagle at the par-5 fourth. He finished his round with five consecutive pars.
"I've been putting a little bit better lately so to start the day with an 5- foot putt for a birdie was nice, and I drove it well for the rest of the round really," said Rock. "I think I had 26 putts today, which is as good as I've done in a long while. I've had 26 putts over the past few weeks, but generally all tap ins so didn't really count. I've been failing to set the ball on line for a long time, and that did it."
Uihlein, the Madeira Islands Open winner, also opened with a birdie on the 10th. He followed a birdie at the 13th with his second birdie in two days on No. 15.
The 23-year-old and former U.S. Amateur champion moved to 9-under as he birdied the first. He stumbled to a bogey at the third, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the fifth. That gave Uihlein a share of the lead and he ended there as he finished with four pars in a row.
"In college in Oklahoma, it was quite windy all the time. So I quite enjoy the wind and knew it was tough out there. It was gusting at times, and it was a good, solid day," Uihlein stated. "I feel like in the wind, you don't have to be perfect, which is what I struggle with. I would try and be too perfect sometimes and in the wind, you just play golf, you hit shots and you just try and maneuver it a little bit. I feel like when it gets windy, you have almost a little more room, so I enjoy it."
NOTES: Rock has a piece of the 36-hole lead for the fifth time on the European Tour, but he has won just one of the previous four events ... Uihlein has a piece of the 36-hole lead for the second time this year. The first time in Spain, he went on to share eighth place ... The cut line fell at even-par 144, with 72 players making it to the weekend ... Among those missing the cut were local favorites Paul McGinley, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and world No. 2 Rory McIlroy ... Damian Mooney had a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh.