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Rory McIlroy happy to be back after strong start in Scotland
Rolex Series

Rory McIlroy happy to be back after strong start in Scotland

Rory McIlroy was delighted to get the competitive juices flowing again after carding an opening 65 at the Genesis Scottish Open.

The Northern Irishman had not swung a club inside the ropes since last month's U.S. Open, where he had a two-shot lead on the back nine but bogeyed three of his last four holes to miss out by a shot.

He revealed he had spent a few days in New York City before getting back into practice and did not look rusty as he carded an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys at The Renaissance Club to begin the defence of his Rolex Series title.

"It was nice," he said. "It was nice to be out there.

"Great as well to be out there with Bob (MacIntyre) and Viktor (Hovland), two people I'm really comfortable with and familiar with, and then to have the crowd following us as well.

"It was a nice reintroduction to competitive golf and nice to be inside the ropes again for sure."

While much of the recent focus has been on McIlroy's near-miss at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, he has two wins in 2024 - including a third Rolex Series title at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic - with three other top fives and no missed cuts to sit second on the Official World Golf Ranking.

That has left him feeling good about his game and confident he can challenge this week and at next week's Open Championship.

"My game has been feeling pretty good in practice over the last ten or so days since I picked the club back up," he said. "Obviously the last time I played, I played well. I didn't get the result I wanted but I've still got a lot of confidence in my game.

"I'm not going to let three or four holes cloud my judgment in terms of how good I'm playing. I knew to play the golf that I did the whole way through June, it wasn't just the U.S. Open. I played well at the Canadian Open and at Memorial before that even at PGA and Quail Hollow. My game has been in good shape and it was in good shape coming in here.

"It's just a matter of going out there and focusing on the task at hand and not letting your mind wander too much. I felt like I did a good job of that today."

Starting on the tenth, McIlroy got up and down for birdie on the par five but gave the shot straight back before sandwiching another bogey on the 15th with a putt from the fringe at the 14th and an up-and-down on the par-five 16th.

An approach to four feet got his second nine off to a fast start and he chipped in for eagle at the third and holed a ten-footer at the fourth to get to five under.

"I think it was a bit of a slow start, sort of up and down," he said. "I hit a couple of shots over the first few holes that I haven't seen in practice over the last ten days. So a bit of a reminder that golf isn't as easy as sometimes I think it is.

"But then I really started to feel good. Especially on the front nine, our back nine, I started to hit some good drives, some good iron shots. 

"I gave myself plenty of chances on that back nine and actually felt like I left a couple out there as well. 

"Overall, a good start, especially after sort of the scrappy start over the first six or seven holes."

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