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Wiesberger cards career-best 61 to share Scottish Open lead

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By Reuters
Wiesberger cards career-best 61 to share Scottish Open lead
FILE PHOTO: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria hits off the fourth tee during first round play of the 2018 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson   -   Copyright  LUCY NICHOLSON(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger birdied his final five holes and surged into a share of the halfway lead with Lee Slattery and Erik Van Rooyen at the Scottish Open on Friday.

Wiesberger continued his recent hot form, carding a course-record 10-under-par 61 in the second round at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick on another day of low scoring.

Englishman Slattery and South African van Rooyen (both 64) matched Wiesberger at 14-under 128, two strokes ahead of Swede Henrik Stenson and Italian Nino Bertasio.

American Justin Thomas was three shots back, while Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy trailed by six.

Joint leader Wiesberger has returned to form with a vengeance recently after being knocked back by a wrist injury that kept him out of action for seven months last year.

Healthy again, the 33-year-old Austrian won the Made in Denmark tournament in May, his fifth European Tour victory, and tied for second at the Irish Open last Sunday.

“Coming off injury, winning in Denmark a couple of weeks ago was a great momentum boost for me,” he told Golf Channel, adding he was not taking the sport as seriously as before his injury.

A lone bogey on Friday was more than balanced by 11 birdies, the lowest score of his European Tour career, which he understatedly described as a “solid” round.

“I kept the ball in place nicely and hit a few nice iron shots, kept going with the flow and got rewarded,” he said.

Former world number one Thomas has also battled a wrist problem, though more recently than Wiesberger.

Thomas missed the PGA Championship in May, and is still playing his way back to tournament sharpness.

“It’s felt great so far,” he said of the wrist after shooting 64.

“I was a little nervous coming over here, just because it’s so different than the turf in America.

“This is what I’ve been working towards, just trying to build some confidence going into (the British Open) next week.”

McIlroy also was pleased with his performance, even if successive 67s left him a bit off the pace.

“I’ve played the way I wanted to play,” he said.

“Yes, maybe I could have squeezed another couple of shots out of both (rounds) but the guys up the top of the leaderboard are obviously playing very good golf.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)