Rory McIlroy makes fine Scottish Open start

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McIlroy carded a five-under-par 65 at the Renaissance Club to lie a shot off the clubhouse lead shared by Max Kieffer and Li Haotong.
Posted on
July 11, 2024
by
The Editorial Team in , ,
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Rory McIlroy bounced back from his US Open heartbreak to make a strong start to the defence of his title in the £7million Genesis Scottish Open.

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 a shot off the clubhouse lead shared by Max Kieffer and Li Haotong.

The world number two 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.”

McIlroy was joined on five under par by Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood, who 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.”

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