Trio tied at Scottish Open

Scotland's Russell Knox is hoping for a successful week at the Scottish Open

Scotland's Russell Knox is hoping for a successful week at the Scottish Open

"I'm frustrated but I thought I saw some good signs this week".

Stenson, now ranked seventh in the world, missed the cut at the recent US Open but bounced back to form a week later in Munich, finishing 10th in the defence of his BMW International Open title.

Adam Scott is hoping a change in his usual schedule to play in this week's Scottish Open will be pivotal in ending a 24-year Australian win drought at the Open Championship.

Also looking to find form on the Scottish west coast is American Rickie Fowler, who won the Scottish Open two years ago at Gullane.

"I remember I went out with Brett Rumford and Scott Gardiner, another player on tour, that night". He thinned his tee shot right at No. 8 his second-to-last hole using a rescue club, only to pull off a superb approach from the thick rough and salvage a par from 10 feet. 3 and 5, both par fives, and got into red figures for the first time this week with a close-range birdie at No. 7.

Starting from the tenth, Ilonen birdied the 14th and 15th before catching first after the turn. So new irons in the bag, 718s.

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"It's just putting it all together, not just for one day but for four days; and not just for four days, to do it week in and week out", he said.

Harrington swapped the drama of his opening 67 for a "boring" and bogey-free 68 to finish nine under par, a total matched by England's Callum Shinkwin and Germany's Alexander Knappe. It was found by a scorer in an unplayable lie, so Harrington took a penalty drop, hacked out and made the putt.

Fowler, who won at Gullane in 2015 but did not defend his title previous year due to scheduling difficulties, got up and running with a birdie at the 13th - his fourth - and added another at the next before breaking a run of six pars with three consecutive birdies from the third.

Fowler fired a confident 67 to join Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington on five-under par, two adrift of first-round leader Mikko Ilonen, while McIlroy stuttered to a 74 and is likely to need a sub-70 score on Friday to avoid missing the cut for the third time in four starts.

The four-time major victor set the tone at his second hole, the 121-yard 11th, where his tee shot came up short left in a bunker.

McIlroy said he would be heading to Birkdale early to get in some practice rounds on one of the hardest courses on the Open rotation.