McIlroy breaks course record
Rory McIlroy warmed up for next week's Open Championship with a course record of 64 in the opening round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on Thursday.
Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg had established a new mark of 65 at Royal Aberdeen after going out in the first group at 6:30am, but that lasted a matter of two hours as McIlroy also made light of the windy conditions.
The former world number one carded eight birdies and one just bogey, even driving the green on the downwind par-four 13th - a distance of 436 yards.
"Everything was pretty much on," a delighted McIlroy said. "I controlled my ball flight really well which is the key to me playing well in these conditions and on these courses.
"I've been working the last 10 days on keeping the ball down, hitting easy shots and taking spin off it and I went out there today and really trusted what I practised."
McIlroy revealed he had also driven the 13th in Wednesday's pro-am, although it probably still came as a shock to the group ahead of Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jimmy Walker, who were still on the green.
"I'm driving the ball really well and I feel if I can get driver in my hand and have an advantage on the field I should do it," he added.
"Going out this morning in these conditions I thought anything in the 60s would be a good score so to shoot something better than that is pleasing."
The scoring overall was excellent given the wind was gusting up to 20mph, with McIlroy's fellow Northern Irishman Michael Hoey carding a 66 and former world number one Luke Donald and Scot Marc Warren shooting rounds of 67.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson also looked set to finish four under par, only to three-putt the 18th for his only bogey of the day.
Broberg won four times on the Challenge Tour in 2012, three of the victories coming in the space of four weeks.
"I played really, really well," he said. "I hit very good shots and a lot of close ones, so this helps a bit. And I kept away from those bunkers and stayed patient.
"I woke up at 4am and saw the wind out there. There was a little less wind to start, but it got more windy after eight holes so it's the same for everybody."