Trio tied at Scottish Open
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jul 15, 2017,
Jul 15, 2017, 0:10
As world number four, he tees up on the Dundonald Links course, on the Scottish west coast and just to the south of Glasgow, as the highest-ranked player in the field.However, four-time major champion McIlroy is coming off the embarrassment of missing the halfway cut by four shots while hosting last week's Irish Open.
'We just tried to manage my way around the golf course and pick it apart a bit, get aggressive when we can be but play defensive at times if trouble comes, ' said American Fowler, a big fan of links golf, who hopes to win his first major at The Open next week.
Stenson, now ranked seventh in the world, missed the cut at the recent US Open but bounced back to form a week later in Munich, finishing 10th in the defence of his BMW International Open title.
McIlroy had nothing to say afterwards and maybe that was a good thing. And as I keep saying it, I don't feel like my game is that far away, so to stay patient when you feel like that is sometimes quite hard.
The Northern Irishman pulled his tee shot on No. 1 into a gorse bush, only to get a free drop - because the ball was ruled to have been embedded - and get up and down from a greenside bunker.
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. McIlroy pulled his approach from 220 yards into the light rough, chipped to 7 feet, but his birdie putt back didn't break and missed by some distance.
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. But it's not like I'm shooting 76s and 77s. "I feel like I did everything right at the U.S. Open".
Tournament favourite Rickie Fowler got off to a flyer with a round of 5-under 67 alongside a resurgent Ian Poulter, Callum Shinkwin and Andrew Dodt.
Ian Poulter, who finished second to Harrington in the 2008 Open Championship, and Australia's Andrew Dodt were a shot off the lead following matching rounds of 69, with 2015 champion Rickie Fowler, 2007 victor Gregory Havret and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts a further stroke adrift.