Padraig Harrington will take a share of the lead into the weekend at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open after an entertaining second day at Dundonald Links.
The Irishman entered Friday two shots off the lead but fired a bogey-free 68 to set the target at nine under before he was reeled in by two of the European Tour's rising stars.
Harrington - a 15-time winner - is playing his 410th European Tour event and while German Alexander Knappe and England's Callum Shinkwin may have just 66 appearances between them, they both put in impressive afternoon performances to join him at the top of the leaderboard.
All the best action from the second day's play from the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.
Knappe signed for a 65 that matched the lowest round of the week so far while Shinkwin carded a 68 as both men went in search of a first victory at the fourth Rolex Series event of the season.
Of Harrington's 15 wins, three are Major Championships and while he returns to the scene of his second Open Championship triumph at Royal Birkdale next week, this weekend he will look for a second win in ten months after claiming the Portugal Masters in October.
Ian Poulter, who finished second to Harrington on Merseyside in 2008, was at eight under alongside Australian Andrew Dodt, a shot clear of Nicolas Colsaerts, Rickie Fowler and Grégory Havret.
After starting on the tenth, an impressive chip on the 14th handed Harrington his first birdie of the day and when he put his approach to tap-in range on the first, he held the lead on his own.
A 12-foot putt on the second extended his advantage and another from similar range briefly handed him a four-shot cushion.
Challenge Tour graduate Knappe soon set about reducing that, however, birdieing the 12th and then holing from the fairway for an eagle on the next before making three further gains to turn in 30.
He had further looks at birdie on the 17th and 18th before bogeys on the second and fourth threatened to derail his progress. He then came roaring back as he took advantage of the par five fifth, put his approach in tight on the seventh and holed a lengthy left-to-righter on the ninth to share the lead.
Shinkwin missed nine cuts in a row between January and June but got through to the weekend in the last two Rolex Series events and was in position to do better than that in Ayrshire.
He turned in 35 from the tenth and went birdie-birdie on the second and third to get within touching distance of the leader. He bogeyed the next but hit a stunning approach to the fifth and when he holed a ten-footer on the seventh, he was in a share of top spot.
Poulter bogeyed the first but hit back with a birdie on the second and disappointingly three-putted the fifth after getting on the par five in two. The Englishman birdied the seventh and ninth, bogeyed the 12th and then had a stroke of good fortune as his shot from off the green on the 13th was stopped by the pin and dropped for another gain.
There was another bogey on the 14th but gains on the 16th and 17th had him right in the hunt.
Dodt started from the tenth and turned in 36 with a birdie on the 14th and bogey on the 18th but picked up another shot on the third before a birdie-birdie finish handed him a 69.
World Number Ten Fowler started the day with nine pars but made four birdies and two bogeys on the back nine in a 70, while Belgian Colsaerts had two bogeys in a 67 and France's Havret was bogey-free in a 66.
Another Frenchman, Alexander Levy, and American Matt Kuchar were then at six under.
England's David Horsey was in the group at five under and he made the 23rd hole-in-one of the season when he holed an eight iron from 119 yards on the 11th.
With high winds forecast for Saturday, the tee times were brought forward with the aim of play finishing by 4pm. First tee time is 6.50am with Harrington and Knappe last off at 11.58am. 65 players made the cut on 143 (-1).
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