Saturday 24 August 2019

Rory McIlroy posts second consecutive 67 but loses ground on leaders at the Scottish Open

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action on the 12th hole during Day 2 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 12, 2019 in North Berwick, United Kingdom. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action on the 12th hole during Day 2 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 12, 2019 in North Berwick, United Kingdom. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy admits he will need to reproduce the flying finish which gave him victory in the Canadian Open to win another national title in Scotland.

McIlroy carded a second successive 67 in the ASI Scottish Open to post a halfway total of eight under par, but still found himself six shots off the lead shared by England's Lee Slattery, Austria's Bernd Wiesberger and South Africa's Erik van Rooyen.

The four-time major winner shot rounds of 64 and 61 over the weekend in Canada a month ago and believes he will need something similar at The Renaissance Club to win a third tournament of the season ahead of next week's Open Championship in his native Northern Ireland.

"I'm struggling to see 14 under," McIlroy said. "Maybe I missed some opportunities but obviously guys are finding the course quite easy.

"It looks like I am going to have to pick up the pace this weekend if I want to have a chance to win. Jon Rahm shot 64, 62 to win last week and I think I'm going to need something similar but I did in Canada and my game feels as good now as it did then.

"I have done what I wanted to do this week, I've driven the ball well and things I've been working on in practice I've seen on the course."

Slattery had set the initial clubhouse target of 14 under after a second successive 64 which put him in pole position to claim one of the three qualifying places available for next week's Open Championship.

"That was the primary goal for the week because if you qualify for the Open that means you've had a good week and anything else is a bonus," said Slattery, who shot 65 in the first round of the Irish Open last week but faded to a tie for 27th.

"Last week I started so well but did not follow it up so to get out there and start fast today was the key."

Van Rooyen matched Slattery's 64 but the lowest round of the day, and the week so far, had come from the in-form Wiesberger, who birdied his last five holes in an inward half of 29 to set a new course record of 61.

Wiesberger, who was runner-up to Rahm at Lahinch on Sunday, missed seven months of last season after wrist surgery and said: "It's been tough the last year. Coming off injury it's been hard, but winning in Denmark a couple of weeks ago is a big boost to me.

"I really enjoy my time out on the golf course again. Maybe take it not as serious as I've done before and let it go and that really helped me."

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