Rory McIlroy leads the Scottish Open on seven-under par after he broke the course record on day one at Royal Aberdeen.
The Northern Irishman was in fine form, racking up birdie after birdie to dismantle a course that was supposedly set up to be a real test for the field prior to the British Open.
In fact, most of the golfers in a star-studded line-up found it easier going that had been anticipated round the lengthy track, with 39 players finishing the first 18 holes with under par scores.
It is McIlroy who leads the way, though, and he will sleep knowing that he is in a good place to build some momentum before the year’s third major begins in the not too distant future.
The former world number one started his round in superb fashion, making a birdie on the second hole. He never relented after that, making shots at holes five, eight, nine, ten, 11, 13 and 14 – only dropping one shot on the fourth.
It means that there is clear daylight between him and his two nearest challengers, Kristoffer Broberg and Ricardo Gonzalez, who both shot scores of 65.
As it was, though, they couldn’t compete with McIlroy’s brilliance and the 25-year-old was delighted at his start.
"Everything was pretty much on," he was quoted by the BBC. "I controlled my ball flight really well which is the key to me playing well in these conditions and on these courses.
"I've been working the last 10 days on keeping the ball down, hitting easy shots and taking spin off it and I went out there today and really trusted what I practised."
"I'm driving the ball really well and I feel if I can get driver in my hand and have an advantage on the field I should do it.
"Going out this morning in these conditions I thought anything in the 60s would be a good score so to shoot something better than that is pleasing."
Elsewhere, it was a good day for some more of the Brits with Michael Hoy, Luke Donald and Richard Blanch all keeping themselves right up with the leaders, whilst the out-of-sorts American Phil Mickelson also showed promising form in his defence of his title, shooting a round of 68 to put himself into tied ninth position.
Bad day for Els
It wasn’t such a good day for four-time major winner Ernie Els (+2), Welshman Jamie Donaldson (+3) or former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (+4), though, and the quartet will all be hoping to develop some momentum over the next round to ensure that they are here for the weekend.
If they can do so, they will put themselves at a major advantage as they will be able to play more golf prior to the Open, with the tournament commencing next week at Hoylake.
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