Defending champion Rory McIlroy 3 shots behind leader Justin Thomas

Home > Tours > DP World Tour > Defending champion Rory McIlroy 3 shots behind leader Justin Thomas
McIlroy is three shots behind leader Justin Thomas, who returned a flawless 62.
Posted on
July 11, 2024
The Editorial Team in , ,
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Rory McIlroy bounced back from his US Open heartbreak to make a strong start to the defence of his Scottish Open title as a “p***** off” Justin Thomas missed out on creating history.

Competing for the first time since agonisingly missing out on a fifth major title at Pinehurst, McIlroy carded a five-under-par 65 at the Renaissance Club to lie three shots behind leader Thomas, who returned a flawless 62.

Just the second 59 in DP World Tour history was a distinct possibility when Thomas covered his first 13 holes in eight under on the par-70 layout, but the two-time major winner could only par the last five holes.

“I thought the par was 71 and then I looked up and I saw it was 70 and I was like, ‘I just need a couple more’ (birdies) and I can shoot 59,” Thomas said.

“And then, shocking, I made five pars in a row so that kind of p***** me off. I definitely wanted a 59 and was even thinking a couple lower, so we all know how that works out when you get ahead of yourself.

“But it’s always good to get off to a good start, and even better to get off to a great one. I felt like I was in great control of everything.”

On a day of low scoring, Thomas enjoyed a one-shot lead over South Korea’s Sungjae Im, with Ryder Cup star Ludvig Åberg on six under and McIlroy part of a large group on five under which included Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

McIlroy chipped in for an eagle on the third hole, his 12th of the day, and also recorded five birdies, but missed good chances on three of his last five holes.

“I hit a couple of shots over the first few holes that I haven’t seen in practice over the last 10 days so it was a bit of a reminder that golf isn’t as easy as sometimes I think it is,” McIlroy said with a smile.

“But then I really started to feel good. Especially on the front nine, our back nine, I started to hit some good drives, some good iron shots.

“I gave myself plenty of chances on that back nine and actually felt like I left a couple out there as well. Overall a good start, especially after the scrappy start over the first six or seven holes.”

McIlroy briefly held a two-shot lead with five holes to play in the US Open but bogeyed three of the last four, missing from two feet and six inches on the 16th and three feet and nine inches on the last to finish a shot behind Bryson DeChambeau.

“I’m not going to let three or four holes cloud my judgement in terms of how good I’m playing,” the 35-year-old added.

“It wasn’t just the US Open. I played well at the Canadian Open and at Memorial and the US PGA and Quail Hollow. My game has been in good shape and it was in good shape coming in here.

“It’s just a matter of going out there and focusing on the task at hand and not letting your mind wander too much. I felt like I did a good job of that today.”

Fleetwood, who lost out in a play-off for this event in 2020, was delighted to have long-term caddie Ian Finnis back on the bag after undergoing open-heart surgery earlier this year.

“It feels great,” Fleetwood said after a round containing five birdies and no bogeys.

“It feels nice to have had a really good round in his first week, for him more than anything. We did a great job. Everything sort of flowed, really, today. He made a couple of great decisions, so it’s like he’s not been away.”

Home favourite Robert MacIntyre, who was denied victory 12 months ago by a stunning birdie-birdie finish by McIlroy in testing conditions, carded five birdies and two bogeys in an opening 68.

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Pos.PlayerTo ParR1
1Justin Thomas-862
2Sungjae Im-763
T3Maximilian Kieffer-664
T3Haotong Li-664
T3Thomas Detry-664
T3Ludvig Åberg-664
T3Justin Lower-664
T8Ugo Coussaud-565
T8Davis Thompson-565
T8Yannik Paul-565
T8Daniel Brown-565
T8Rory McIlroy-565
T8Tommy Fleetwood-565
T8Corey Conners-565
T8Alex Noren-565
T8Alex Fitzpatrick-565
T8Byeong Hun An-565
T8Brendon Todd-565
T8Antoine Rozner-565
T8Collin Morikawa-565
T8Ben Griffin-565
T8Nick Taylor-565
T23Andrew Novak-466
T23Chris Gotterup-466
T23Romain Langasque-466
T23Daniel Hillier-466
T23Mackenzie Hughes-466
T23Sahith Theegala-466
T23Francesco Molinari-466
T23Nicolai Højgaard-466
T23Stewart Cink-466
T23Niklas Norgaard Moller-466
T23Taylor Montgomery-466
T34Erik van Rooyen-367
T34Rikuya Hoshino-367
T34Kurt Kitayama-367
T34Ashun Wu-367
T34Dylan Frittelli-367
T34Adam Scott-367
T34Max Homa-367
T34Robert MacIntyre-367
T34Viktor Hovland-367
T34Austin Eckroat-367
T34Min Woo Lee-367
T34Matthew Jordan-367
T34Max Greyserman-367
T34Junghwan Lee-367
T34Richard Mansell-367
T34Nick Bachem-367
T34Lee Hodges-367
T34Brian Harman-367
T34Matteo Manassero-367
T34Gary Woodland-363
T34Ryan Fox-367
T34Grant Forrest-367
T34Matt Fitzpatrick-367
T34Jens Dantorp-367
T58Marcus Armitage-268
T58Joost Luiten-268
T58Connor Syme-268
T58Aaron Rai-268
T58Rasmus Højgaard-268
T58Oliver Wilson-268
T58Wyndham Clark-268
T58Jason Scrivener-268
T58Guido Migliozzi-268
T58Matt Wallace-268
T58Matti Schmid-268
T58Si Woo Kim-268
T58Cam Davis-268
T58Richie Ramsay-268
T58Luke Donald-268
T58Thorbjørn Olesen-268
T58Jorge Campillo-268
T58Victor Perez-268
T58Harris English-268
T77Andrew Putnam-169
T77Laurie Canter-169
T77Jesper Svensson-169
T77Christiaan Bezuidenhout-169
T77Billy Horschel-169
T77Alejandro Del Rey-169
T77Tom Kim-169
T77Seamus Power-169
T77Xander Schauffele-169
T77Sanghyun Park-169
T77Adam Hadwin-169
T77Yuto Katsuragawa-169
T77Sam Stevens-169
T77Julien Guerrier-169
T77Scott Jamieson-169
T77Marcel Siem-169
T77Tom McKibbin-169
T77Keith Mitchell-169
T77Justin Rose-169
T77Calum Hill-169
T77Louis de Jager-169
T77Shubhankar Sharma-169
T99Hurly LongPar70
T99Dale WhitnellPar70
T99Padraig HarringtonPar70
T99Vincent NorrmanPar70
T99Davis RileyPar70
T99Adrian OtaeguiPar70
T99Darius Van DrielPar70
T99Pablo LarrazabalPar70
T99Chandler PhillipsPar70
T99Tom HogePar70
T99Luke ListPar70
T99Matthew SouthgatePar70
T99Bernd WiesbergerPar70
T99Sepp StrakaPar70
T99Sami ValimakiPar70
T99Charley HoffmanPar70
T99Doug GhimPar70
T99Santiago TarrioPar70
T117Aaron Cockerill+171
T117Ryo Hisatsune+171
T117Eric Cole+171
T117Thriston Lawrence+171
T117Nico Echavarria+171
T117Will Zalatoris+171
T117Lucas Glover+171
T117Nacho Elvira+171
T117Alexander Björk+171
T117Adri Arnaus+171
T117Hideki Matsuyama+171
T117Jordan Spieth+171
T117Ben Kohles+171
T117Jeong Woo Ham+171
T131Callum Shinkwin+272
T131Emiliano Grillo+272
T131David Law+272
T131Simon Forsström+272
T131Jordan Gumberg+272
T131Kiradech Aphibarnrat+272
T131Jeff Winther+272
T131Todd Clements+272
T131Mark Hubbard+272
T140Kevin Yu+373
T140Jordan Smith+373
T140Denny McCarthy+373
T140Keita Nakajima+373
T140Rickie Fowler+373
T140Matthew Baldwin+373
T140Sean Crocker+373
T140Dan Bradbury+373
T140Ewen Ferguson+373
T140Ockie Strydom+373
T140Daniel Gavins+373
T151K.H. Lee+474
T151Matthieu Pavon+474
T151Cole Rueck(a)+474
T154Taylor Moore+575
T154Brice Garnett+575
156Masahiro Kawamura+676
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Genesis Scottish Open 2024

Date: July 11th - 14th 2024

Location: The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland

Purse: $9,000,000

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