Ricardo Gonzalez, Kristoffer Broberg and Marc Warren were in a three-way tie for the lead at the halfway stage of the Scottish Open on Friday, while Rory McIlroy suffered a second round meltdown a day after shooting a course record at Royal Aberdeen.
Northern Ireland's McIlroy went seven-under on Thursday, but there was no repeat second time around as he hit a seven-over par 78 to drop from first place to a share of 34th.
"Just one of those days when nothing really went right, I'm here for the weekend at least," McIlroy said of a round that featured six bogeys and a seven on the par-five 12th to leave him on par, six shots off the lead.
Argentina's Gonzalez looked to be on track for a two-shot lead after 36 holes, but a double bogey on the 18th saw him fall back to an even-par 71 for the round.
Together with Sweden's Broberg (71) and Scot Warren (69), the trio hold a one-shot advantage over England's 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (68) heading into the weekend at the traditional curtain-raiser to next week's British Open.
(Reporting by Josh Reich, editing by Pritha Sarkar)