Scottish Open: Rory McIlroy maintained his recent form, sitting three strokes out of the early clubhouse lead at the Genesis Scottish Open.
McIlroy, who has finished in the top seven in four of his past five international appearances, continued his remarkable form with a six-under 64 opening round at the Renaissance Club, combining an eagle and six birdies with two bogeys. After a nine-under 61, Byeong Hun An is the clubhouse leader.
Beginning on the back nine with two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and reigning champion Xander Schauffele, the 34-year-old scored a two-putt birdie at the par-five 10th and holed from 20 feet to pick up a stroke at the par-three 12th.
McIlroy converted from a similar distance at the next and sank a 40-footer at the par-four 15th to take a share of the lead, then used the par-five 16th to record his fifth birdie in seven holes.
The former world number one couldn’t get up and down from off the 17th green and then missed a five-foot birdie opportunity at the next, turning in 31. He then added another bogey at the par-four second after putting his approach into the greenside bunker.
McIlroy reacted with a 360-yard drive and magnificent approach into the par-five third, setting him an eagle from roughly 35 feet to take the outright lead, before going to six under for the day with an eight-foot birdie at the par-four fifth.
Four pars followed, with outside birdie opportunities to grab the lead on the par-four eighth and par-three ninth missing him.
Belgium’s Thomas Detry also shot a six-under 64 in his opening round, with eight birdies and two bogeys, giving him a share of the early lead with McIlroy.
McIlroy is using the tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, as competitive preparation for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool next week, when he will be seeking to end his nine-year major drought at the place where he won in 2014.
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