Hindsight is a wonderful thing as Rory McIlroy may now want to attest.
The four-time Major winner controversially chose not to contest last week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and instead be lured to tee-up in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
McIlroy had spoken of not wishing to play four weeks in a row had he entered the Irish Open, given he is heading to Memphis the week following The Open for the WGC – FedEx Championship.
So, he dropped the Irish and stuck with the Scottish before heading later tomorrow night to Royal Portrush where he will surely be the overwhelming crowd favourite.
As it turned out, Lahinch was a marvellous ‘warm-up’ for those heading onto this coming week’s Open Championship.
Sadly, the Renaissance Club to the east of Edinburgh has, and put bluntly, been a huge disappointment.
We knew when the ultra-private club was chosen to host the Scottish Open it was a ‘modern’ links and it’s lived-up to that simple description with Austrian giant, Bern Wiesberger shooting the lights out on rain-softened greens where the ball spins back in posting scores of 67, 61 and 65 to storm his way to a two-shot leading cushion at 20-under par.
Let’s take nothing away from Wiesberger as a week ago he was joint runner-up in Co. Clare and this after capturing the Made In Denmark at the end of May, so it’s not just the course as the Austrian is clearly in the best of form.
Only last March, Wiesberger teed-up in the Hero Indian Open coming off five missed cuts in his then last six events and since India, he’s made all nine cuts and is staring now at a sixth European Tour title.
South African Erik Van Rooyan is next best adding a 67 to be in second place on 18-under par
McIlroy added a third day three-under par 68 to move to 11-under par which on a ‘true’ links course would be a great scoring effort but with a round to play before tee-up in the last major of 2019, he trails nine shots adrift of Wiesberger.
Needing a fast start, McIlroy was slow out of the blocks bogeying the second hole for a second day running before birding four of five holes from the fifth to move to 11-under but then dropped back to 9-under with bogeys on 11 and 12.
McIlroy then birdied the 16th and got back to 11-under with a birdie at the last.
“It was a slow start, and then got it going a bit in the middle, and then didn’t have it going in the middle and finished off pretty well,” he said.
“Look, it’s again, very benign conditions, same as the first two days. I just didn’t quite take advantage of it the way I needed to, but again I still feel like my game is in good shape.
“It’s another round in the books and I’ll just try and finish off the tournament positively tomorrow and move on to Portrush.”
When pushed about a difficulty in striving to make inroads on the leaders, McIlroy confessed it was becoming frustrating given for seemingly every step he went forward, he took one step back
“I definitely got frustrated, I bogeyed 11 and then sort of let that bother me and bogeyed 12 after that,” he said.
“There have been a lot of chances. I feel like I could be, you know, a few shots better, but at the same time, this is where I’m at. I could have, would have, should have, but as long as I go out tomorrow and try and put it all together and play a good, solid round, I’ll be happy with my week’s work”.
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