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Ilonen leads, but more struggles for McIlroy
July 19 2018, 05:02 | Irvin Gilbert
Zach Johnson an Open winner will be in the Midwest the week before he heads to Royal Birkdale. Getty Images
Scott declared at the end of last season he would employ a new tactic at the 2017 Majors and play competitively the week prior to each, his appearance at Dundonald Links his first Scottish Open since 2009. He was 10 shots off the lead after two days that exposed the current frailties in his wedge play and putting.
Speaking about his own first round, which sees him up to co-leader along with Callum Shinkwin, Andrew Dodt and Ian Poulter, Fowler said: "Thursday is all about getting off to a good start and I did a great job of that". "Waiting for something, some sort of spark".
"My game feels like it's not far away but it needs that little bit of a push in the right direction, so hopefully this week we can take it up a notch or two". "Anytime I get a chance to play it, we do".
"This week at Dundonald, I'll be trying a few shots that I don't normally play".
That came in the midst of three straight birdies on his back nine as Fowler outplayed his partners Rory McIlroy (74) and Henrik Stenson (72) in the marquee group, continuing his consistent form this year.
The Northern Irishman pulled his tee shot on No. 1 into a gorse bush, only to get a free drop - because the ball was ruled to have been embedded - and get up and down from a greenside bunker.
He had seven birdies in all five of them coming in six holes from Nos.
It's all around even par, but even par these days isn't good enough.
"It was a bad putt", said McIlroy, who has been working hard on his putting.
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.
The world's fourth-ranked player endured a disappointing U.S. Open campaign, failing to make the weekend, while the same fate befell him at last week's Irish Open, either side of a 17th-place finish at the Travelers Championship. But it's not like I'm shooting 76s and 77s.
Three-time major victor Padraig Harrington is nine-under par and shares the lead with Alexander Knappe of Germany and Callum Shinkwin.
Ian Poulter, who finished second to Harrington in the 2008 Open Championship, and Australia's Andrew Dodt were a shot off the lead following matching rounds of 69, with 2015 champion Rickie Fowler, 2007 victor Gregory Havret and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts a further stroke adrift.
This article was written by Steve Douglas from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.