More misery for McIlroy as Rory misses third cut in four events at the Scottish Open
A frustrated Rory McIlroy heads into next week's Open Championship on the back of a third missed cut in four events after his poor form continued in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
McIlroy was hoping that memories of his last appearance in the event would kickstart his injury-hit season, the world number four finishing 14th at Royal Aberdeen in 2014 before going on to win the Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA in his next three starts.
However, the 28-year-old could only add a 71 to his opening 74 at Dundonald Links to finish one over par and admitted his birdie attempt on the 18th to have a chance of making the weekend was "terrible".
" I'm frustrated, but at the same time I thought I saw some good signs out there," McIlroy said. "I thought my putting improved this week compared to last week. I hit some better wedges today, but still room for improvement.
"It's hard to sort of put my finger on it. But it's not like I'm shooting 76s and 77s. It's all around even par, but even par these days isn't good enough.
"I'm just waiting for something, some sort of spark, something to go right, and the last couple weeks haven't been like that. Just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week.
"I haven't had enough competitive rounds this year. With the (rib) injury I've missed a lot of events. It's tough. I've sort of been playing catch-up all year.
"I'll probably head down to Birkdale early and get some practice rounds in to get myself ready for the test that golf course is going to provide.
"I feel like I'm more than capable of going down there and shooting a couple of even pars or shooting something in the 60s and getting myself into contention."
McIlroy followed a missed cut in the US Open with a tie for 17th in the Travelers Championship, but then made an early exit from the Irish Open at Portstewart, where he was the defending champion.
The four-time major winner had not missed successive cuts since May 2015 and was inside the projected cut after covering the front nine in 33, but needed two attempts to escape a greenside bunker on the 13th to double-bogey the par four for the second day running.
"T here's so much sand in that bunker I told myself, 'You've got to hit this hard' and I couldn't hit it any harder," McIlroy added.
"I played the front nine this week in five under par, so it's not that far away. I'm missing cuts but I'm just on the wrong side of doing something quite good.
"I'm saying the same thing to you guys week in and week out, but hopefully next week I can say I stayed patient and it sort of worked out."
McIlroy admitted he would feel slightly better if the cut fell at one under par and it duly did, with 65 players qualifying for the final two rounds.
American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed and home favourites Russell Knox and Marc Warren were among those to miss out by a shot, while defending champion Alex Noren finished two over after a second round of 76.
Tee times for Saturday's third round have been brought forward due to heavy rain forecast, with play due to finish around 4pm.