Rory McIlroy Optimistic For Birkdale Despite Dundonald Disappointment.

Rory McIlroy is optimistic he can challenge at next week’s Open Championship after the bitter disappointment of missing the halfway cut by two shots in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

McIlroy recorded scores of 74 and a second round 71 on a rain-softened Dundonald Links course just to the south of Glasgow.

The World No. 4 offered some glimmer of hope of winning through to the weekend with birdies at the third, fifth and seventh holes to get himself inside the red at one-under.

But it turned pear-shaped when he failed at a first attempt to get out of a greenside bunker in taking a double bogey on 13.

It is the second week in succession and also a third occasion in last four events McIlroy has sat out the weekend rounds.

Rory McIlroy body language says it all as his stands on the final green knowing has missed the Dundonald Links halfway cut. Image .. Getty Images.

Instead, McIlroy intends to now head south to Royal Birkdale, and next week’s 146th Open Championship host venue, for what will now be unscheduled practice rounds.

And after two separate injury concerns earlier this year McIlroy admits, and with The Open to commence next Thursday, he is far short of competition.

“No, I have not had far enough competitive rounds this year with my injuries and I have missed a lot of events”, he said.

“You just can’t mess with an injury and come back too early, so I missed a lot of play because of that and I have been playing catch-up all year because of that.

“So, I would have loved to have played more rounds not just going into next week but for the whole season”.

However McIlroy believes there is enough good signs in his game to be optimistic heading to Royal Birkdale in a goal of capturing a fifth Major Championship.

“I am not getting to play the weekend but again, I would be much more worried if I went out there and shot a couple of 76s and I was nowhere near trying to make the cut or not”, he said.

“The difference between shooting one under par and four or five under par is not much of a difference as I played the front nine today in three under and felt pretty good.

“Look, it is what it is and I just have to get myself ready for next week.

“I just feel like I have been on the wrong side of things these past two weeks and hopefully I am on the right side next week.

“If I go to Birkdale next week and shoot a couple of even par rounds, as I have done these past few weeks, I do not think I will be far out of it”.

Three players .. fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington (68), Watford’s Callum Shinkwin (68) and little-known German Alexander Knappe (65) … lead the field on nine-under.

Harrington, who is clearly excited about returning to Birkdale where he won the 2008 Open, enjoyed a “boring” second day compared the “stress” on day one when frantically had to search for a loss ball late in his round.

“Today was just boring. There was no stress. All day, I made two birdies on par 5s and I hit two 7-irons on my 10th and 11th hole, the first and second hole, in pretty close,” he said

“So, that was my day and it couldn’t have been more opposite than yesterday”.

England’s Ian Poulter, who finished an Open career best of runner-up to Harrington in 2008, recorded a 69, that included holing a 40-foot birdie, to be sharing fourth place at eight-under and just a stroke from the lead.

“I am really pleased and I was more balanced in my swing, even though I hit a few loose ones today, which I wasn’t very happy about,” he said.

“I putted nicely, again, which is kind of going in the right direction, which is always nice to see a few putts going in and including that lovely putt on 16.”

World No. 1o Rickie Fowler with a round of 7o is two shots off the leading trio and sharing sixth at seven-under.

 



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