Sport Golf

Wednesday 16 October 2019

McIlroy pleased with Scottish comeback

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy brushed away the cobwebs with a 67 that left him four shots behind a quartet of leaders on low-scoring opening day in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

The world No 3 was tied for 29th with Pádraig Harrington after his first competitive round for 25 days as 92 players broke 70 at a rain-softened Renaissance Club near Edinburgh.

Four-under after seven, he fell back with bogeys at the eighth and 11th before picking off two par-fives coming home.

"To pick up a couple up on the way in, with the way the wind was and to not drop any, I thought I did pretty well," McIlroy said.

Italians Edoardo Molinari and Nino Bertasio shot eight-under 63s to share the lead with Frenchman Romain Wattel and American Matt Kuchar.

But Paul Dunne is tied 93rd after a 70 and Graeme McDowell 139th after a 73 with the projected cut already at three-under or better. Wattel, Bertasio and Molinari are eyeing three exemptions for The Open at Royal Portrush, but there's also one spot on offer at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.

Seamus Power has work to do to clinch it after his two-under 69 left him five adrift of Adam Long at TPC Deere Run, where new star Matthew Wolff opened with a four-under 67.

In amateur golf, Ireland fell 4-3 to World Amateur Team titleholders Denmark in the quarter-finals of the European Amateur Team Championship in Sweden as the women battled hard but lost 4-3 to top qualifiers Italy in Sardinia.

But as the Girls team beat Norway 5-0 in the race for fifth place in Spain, the Irish Boys shocked a star-studded England 4-3 at Chantilly in France to set up a semi-final against Germany.

At home, Robert Brazill from Naas will face Douglas' Peter O'Keeffe in the first of today's semi-finals of North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Portstewart, as Mullingar's Liam Grehan takes on Chelmsford's Arron Edwards-Hill.

Scottish Open, Live, Sky Sports, 10.30am John Deere Classic, Live, Sky Sports, 9.0pm

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