Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McIlroy in Danger of Adding Third Missed Cut to His Woes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McIlroy in Danger of Adding Third Missed Cut to His Woes

Article excerpt

RORY McIlroy faces the prospect of heading into next week's Open Championship on the back of a third missed cut in four events after making a poor start in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

McIlroy was hoping memories of his last appearance in the event would kick-start 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, despite enjoying the best of the conditions, the 28-year-old could only card a two-over-par 74 at Dundonald Links to end the day nine shots behind Finland's Mikko Ilonen.

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 has not missed successive cuts since May 2015 but recent work on his wedge game failed to reap dividends as he followed bogeys on the 11th and 12th - his second and third holes of the day - by dumping his approach to the 13th into the burn which guards the front of the green.

The resulting double bogey was at least followed by a first birdie of the day on the par-five 14th, but another bogey on the 18th - where he pitched into a greenside bunker - took McIlroy to the turn in 40.

Birdies on the third, fifth and seventh repaired most of the damage, only for a bogey on the ninth to leave McIlroy at the wrong end of the leaderboard in the PS5.4m event.

Ilonen has missed the cut in his last four events but a new set of irons helped the five-time European Tour winner card seven birdies in a bogey-free 65 to lead by two shots from Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Paul Peterson, Callum Shinkwin and Andrew Dodt. Ilonen said: "I wasn't imagining shooting 65. …

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