Thomas and Morikawa among high profile names to miss Scottish Open cut

This really wasn’t in the Scottish Open script. Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Will Zalatoris led a high profile exodus from East Lothian, having missed the cut in the tournament that precedes the Open Championship.

The performances of Thomas, the recently crowned US PGA champion, and Morikawa, who will defend the Claret Jug at St Andrews from Thursday, were especially notable. Thomas added a 77 to a first round of 73 to crash out at 10 over par. Morikawa fared five shots better but a plus five total – the same score as Billy Horschel and local favourite Robert McIntyre – meant the Californian lasted just 36 holes.

So, too, did Ian Poulter. The Englishman, who has signed for the rebel LIV Golf Series, won an appeal to play in Scotland but delivered rounds of 78 and 72. Min Woo Lee, the defending champion, fared one stroke worse at 11 over.

Against this tale of woe, the 65 of Xander Schauffele and 66 from Matt Fitzpatrick leapt out. Fitzpatrick will fancy his Open chances after earning his maiden major win at the US Open just last month. For now, though, he has Scottish Open glory in his sights.

“I’ve had so much support with people saying ‘congrats’ and ‘keep it going’ as you’re walking onto tees and greens,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s been really nice to be out there.”

Jordan Smith’s hole in one at the 17th earned both the golfer and his caddie, Sam Matton, the prize of a new car courtesy of Genesis, the tournament sponsor. “Sam is a big part of that hole, so it’s great that they have managed to support caddies for that as well,” said Smith.

Thomas Bjørn, the former European Ryder Cup captain, was heading for a missed cut but suffered the further ignominy of disqualification after signing for the wrong score. Bjørn was embarrassed by the situation. “First [time] for everything,” he said. “I even checked the scores the way I normally do. Golf was awful and need to get back to the grind but it’s not a nice look to be DQ’d and it’s unprofessional.”

The R&A, meanwhile, has announced a 22% rise in the prize fund for the Open. A total of $14m will be played for at the Old Course. The champion will receive a cheque for $2.5m along with the Claret Jug. “Prize money has increased by more than 60% since 2016,” said Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A. Daniel Berger has withdrawn from the major because of a back injury.