A birdie followed but he dropped another shot at the par-five 18th.
“I knew what that last putt meant”, McIlroy sighed. And again, it’s just putting it all together, not just for one day but for four days.
Shinkwin is in his second year on tour and endured a run of nine events from January to late June that included five missed cuts, two disqualifications, a retiral and a withdrawl.
“I haven’t had enough competitive rounds this year”. So it’s been tough.
“I played St. Andrews in 1978, and I did not like it”, he said.
“Sadly, due to personal reasons I’ve had to withdraw from this week’s Scottish, which was a real shame”, Els wrote in his weekly newsletter.
But, as ever, he was keen to look on the positives of the past two days rather than the negatives. It’s not that bad though. I do think this week’s course presents a fairly generous modern twist on a classic Scottish links and there will be plenty of scoring opportunities available.
“One more tournament isn’t going to change you and I’d hate to be that guy”.
Even when his game frayed at the edges, he found a way to keep his score down, and although missed a couple of birdie opportunities, especially at the par-three sixth, but he also saved several pars, his sublime up-and-down at the eighth a thing of beauty.
Challenge Tour graduate Knappe, 28, had missed his last eight cuts in a row but got off to a storming start with four birdies and an eagle on the back nine before continuing on to shoot a seven-under-par 65, which was the low round of the day.
“I’m just waiting for something, some sort of spark, something to go right, and the last couple weeks haven’t been like that”.
Fowler, who is around the same age as McIlroy and considers the Northern Irishman a good friend, said McIlroy was in a “great spot” both on the course and in his personal life. His immediate problem, however, is that his mistakes are bigger than they should be. “The difference between shooting 1-under par and 4- or 5-under par isn’t that much of a difference”. “It still feels weird, but I am happy with the progress”, Poulter said. “But the 13th hurt me”. And I couldn’t have hit it any harder.
“I am not getting to play the weekend but again, I would be much more anxious 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. I just have to stay patient.
“I’ll probably head down to Birkdale early, get some early practice rounds and try to get myself ready for that golf course”.