Sat, Jul 12, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Rory McIlroy fires course record 64 to lead Scottish Open


Rory McIlroy made light work of the windy conditions to fire a course record seven-under 64 in the opening round of the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen on Thursday.

Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg established a new mark of 65 earlier, but it lasted only two hours as former world No. 1 McIlroy carded eight birdies and one bogey.

The Northern Irishman even drove the green at the downwind par-four 13th — a distance of 436 yards — in the traditional curtain-raiser to The Open next week.

“Everything was pretty much on,” 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 practiced. 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.”

Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez also carded a 65 late in the day to share second place with Broberg.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson looked set to finish on four-under, only to three-putt the 18th for the American’s only bogey of the day.

“The conditions were tough and I was surprised to see some of those low scores, but I feel like I played well and had a good putting day until the last. It’s a good first day,” Mickelson said of his opening round.

The scoring overall was excellent given the wind was gusting up to 32kph, with McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman Michael Hoey carding a 66, while former world No. 1 Luke Donald of England and Scot Marc Warren carded 67s.

“I played really, really well,” Broberg 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.”

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