Scottish Open: Rory McIlroy kept his current momentum going, lying three shots behind the early clubhouse lead at the Genesis Scottish Open.
McIlroy, who has placed in the top seven in four of his last five international outings, continued his impressive form with a six-under 64 opening round at the Renaissance Club, which included an eagle and six birdies with two bogeys.
After Byeong Hun An tied the course record with a bogey-free 61 to grab a two-shot lead over Davis Riley, the Northern Irishman sits tied for third with Belgium’s Thomas Detry.
“It’s a really good start,” remarked McIlroy. “I haven’t had particularly good results around this course in recent years, but I feel like my game is definitely in better shape now. I feel like I’m coming in here playing really good golf, putting up good numbers, and putting myself in contention.”
How McIlroy got off to a fast start in Scotland
McIlroy, who started on the back nine with two-time PGA Championship winner and reigning champion Xander Schauffele, birdied 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 following hole and sank a 40-footer at the par-four 15th to share the lead, then birdied the par-five 16th for his fifth birdie in seven holes.
The former world number one couldn’t get up and down from outside the 17th green and then missed a five-foot birdie opportunity at the next, finishing with a score of 31. After hitting his approach into the greenside bunker on the par-four second, he made another bogey.
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 closing with an eight-foot birdie at the par-four fifth to move to six under for the day.
Four pars followed, with outside birdie opportunities to grab the lead on the par-four eighth and par-three ninth slipping away.
Riley had sped to the turn in 29 and added another birdie on the 10th to reach seven under par, boosting the possibility of breaking 60 on the par-70 circuit, only to par the remaining eight holes.