McIlroy fires F-Bomb en route to opening 74 at Scottish Open

"I tried to push a little too much and tried to make things happen too much at Augusta, and that definitely helped me at Erin Hills", Fowler said.

It was the world No. 4's third missed cut in his last four events - he also failed to make the weekend at the U.S. Open and last week's Irish Open - and the latest low point in an injury-affected 2017 for the four-time major victor.

McIlroy's last appearance at the Scottish Open in 2014 was pivotal, as he won The Open Championship the week after at Royal Liverpool.

All but Hend are playing for a place in the field at Birkdale, the big hitting Queenslander playing his third Open Championship in succession after debuting in 2005 and not playing again until 2015.

"I enjoy playing the week before the majors just to get myself ready to go, check off some boxes".

Reigning Open champion Stenson made a horrendous start as he triple-bogeyed his opening hole, but a birdie at his last salvaged a battling 72, while McIlroy declined to speak to reporters after another inconsistent performance. 1-6 and was delighted that a decision to use a new set of irons this week paid off.

The latter, who is a two-time Challenge Tour victor, made seven birdies, one eagle and just two bogeys to sign for a magnificent seven-under-par 65, leaving the 28-year-old in prime position to break his duck on the European circuit.

Starting from the tenth, Ilonen birdied the 14th and 15th before catching first after the turn.

Fowler - who has frequently excelled at Links golf - opened with a more-than respectable 67 to lie on five under alongside Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Paul Peterson, Andrew Dodt and Callum Shinkwin.

Harrington called his par at No. 16 a "minor miracle", having thought he'd lost his ball off the tee.

The three-times major champion successfully defended his Open title there in 2008, the last time the tournament was played at the venue. He cut a frustrated figure on his back nine, chucking his club high into the air on his last hole after a weak approach.

This week's Scottish Open is the fourth of the Series which offers US$7,000,000 minimum purses and are created to attract the world's best players to Europe.

The four-time major victor set the tone at his second hole, the 121-yard 11th, where his tee shot came up short left in a bunker.


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