Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (pictured by Getty Images) made a stunning start to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open with a course record seven under par 64 on a blustery day at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.
The two-time Major winner racked up eight birdies against one bogey to set the pace, one shot ahead of Swede Kristoffer Broberg and Argentinian Ricardo Gonzalez. McIlroy’s compatriot Michael Hoey, who tasted links success in the 2011 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, is another shot back at five under.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson opened with a three under par 68, while Englishman Luke Donald was one of four players on four under par, along with home hopes David Drysdale and Marc Warren, who were the best placed of the Scots on day one.
“Anytime you start a tournament with a score like that it’s very pleasing, and it’s obviously something to build on for the next three days. But more importantly, I was just really pleased with how I controlled my game and my ball flight. I’m really, really comfortable with my game at the minute today was so pleasing that the shots I was hitting in practice and the shots that I’ve been working on I was really able to trust out there when it really mattered.
“Everyone saw what Phil (Mickelson) did last year and I’d love to be able to emulate what he did, but there’s obviously a lot of golf to play for that to happen.”
“I had a really good day – I played well, fought hard and hit a lot of good shots. I also had a good putting day so I was pleased with the score. It’s a great test of links golf and a great way to get ready for The Open. It’s great for me to have the opportunity to play these great courses ahead of The Open as I only really play links golf for two weeks of the year.”
“I watched the Argentina v Holland match last night and maybe this was the key to my round today. I was nice and relaxed. It was the best round of the year, and it was also special because I had my son on the bag.”
“I played really, really well. I hit very good shots and a lot of close ones, and kept me away from those bunkers and stayed patient. I’ve been playing really well for the past few weeks and hopefully I can keep it going. I love it here. It’s a beautiful course.”
Round 1 golf scores:
64 R McIlroy (Nir) ,
65 K Broberg (Swe) , R Gonzalez (Arg) ,
66 M Hoey (Nir) ,
67 L Donald (Eng) , M Warren (Sco) , R Bland (Eng) , D Drysdale (Sco) ,
68 R Knox (Sco) , D Howell (Eng) , P Mickelson (USA) , G Stal (Fra) ,
69 D Clarke (Nir) , J Rose (Eng) , M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , M Manassero (Ita) , K Phelan (Irl) , T Hatton (Eng) , P Larrazábal (Esp) , P Casey (Eng) , N Fasth (Swe) , S Kapur (Ind) ,
70 G Storm (Eng) , M Laird (Sco) , A Forsyth (Sco) , L Bjerregaard (Den) , G Maybin (Nir) , T Björn (Den) , S Khan (Eng) , R Palmer (USA) , T Fleetwood (Eng) , F Zanotti (Par) , C Del Moral (Esp) , J Singh (Ind) , D Willett (Eng) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , T Lewis (Eng) , G Hutcheon (Sco) ,
71 M Lundberg (Swe) , P Harrington (Irl) , T Aiken (RSA) , J Hahn (USA) , D McGrane (Irl) , J Walker (USA) , M Kieffer (Ger) , J Hansen (Den) , J Morrison (Eng) , T Jaidee (Tha) , M Carlsson (Swe) , W Ormsby (Aus) , R Karlsson (Swe) , S Webster (Eng) , A Pavan (Ita) , M Foster (Eng) , A Quiros (Esp) , R Fowler (USA) , C Wood (Eng) , S Dyson (Eng) , M Jones (Aus) , T Pieters (Bel) , V Dubuisson (Fra) , R Wattel (Fra) , J Carlsson (Swe) , A Otaegui (Esp) , M Ilonen (Fin) , O Schniederjans (am) (USA) ,
72 J Kruger (RSA) , J Jeong (Kor) , C Lee (Sco) , S Gallacher (Sco) , S Wakefield (Eng) , S Lowry (Irl) , R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) , L Westwood (Eng) , M Baldwin (Eng) , S Kim (Kor) ,
73 G Coetzee (RSA) , J Quesne (Fra) , J Campillo (Esp) , I Poulter (Eng) , J Luiten (Ned) , F Aguilar (Chi) , R Jacquelin (Fra) , M Siem (Ger) , E Els (RSA) , K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , G Bourdy (Fra) , R Derksen (Ned) , R Santos (Por) , P Uihlein (USA) , S Thornton (Irl) , E De La Riva (Esp) , M Madsen (Den) , R Kakko (Fin) , S Henry (Sco) , S Faldo (Eng) ,
74 J McLeary (Sco) , R Ramsay (Sco) , F Molinari (Ita) , M Jiménez (Esp) , J Donaldson (Wal) , D Fichardt (RSA) , N Elvira (Esp) , D Lynn (Eng) , S Jamieson (Sco) , D Horsey (Eng) , R Green (Aus) , A Gee (Eng) , A Wall (Eng) , P McGinley (Irl) , B Wiesberger (Aut) , K Stadler (USA) , P Lawrie (Sco) , J Blixt (Swe) , G Havret (Fra) , V Riu (Fra) ,
75 R Fisher (Eng) , L Oosthuizen (RSA) , R Sterne (RSA) , M Crespi (Ita) , E Molinari (Ita) , D Huizing (Ned) , B Rumford (Aus) , B Koepka (USA) , B Grace (RSA) , A Levy (Fra) , G Bhullar (Ind) , S Manley (Wal) , C Doak (Sco) , E Pepperell (Eng) , P Waring (Eng) , D Brooks (Eng) , M Ford (Eng) , M Cort (Eng) , T Levet (Fra) , A Cañizares (Esp) ,
76 M Miller (USA) , F Calmels (Fra) , J Lima (Por) , D Van Der Walt (RSA) , P Hanson (Swe) , J Parry (Eng) , P Whiteford (Sco) , A Culverwell (am) (Sco) ,
77 A Saddier (Fra) , M Nixon (Eng) , J Dantorp (Swe) , A Sullivan (Eng) , E Grillo (Arg) ,
78 D Law (Sco) ,
79 P Lawrie (Irl) ,
81 R Rock (Eng) , J Olazábal (Esp) ,
83 L Slattery (Eng) ,
DQ J Walters (RSA) ,
Source: European Tour