Rory McIlroy will 'bounce back', says Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler already has one Scottish Open title winning in 2015

Rory McIlroy's struggles continued in round one of the Scottish Open as Mikko Ilonen produced a flawless performance to surge into a two-shot lead at Dundonald Links.

That, of course, most certainly isn't the case, but it was definitely appropriate for the shot McIlroy had just played and some others - all with a wedge in his hand - as he opened with a disappointing two-over-par 74 at Dundonald Links. 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. It's nice to get something going and make a few birdies and no mistakes on the card. "The past year and a half or so, I haven't played as well in the majors as I would have liked and we all put so much focus on the majors now". I've got to start from a couple of holes, nine holes and now 18 holes and I've just got to continue from there.

The Irishman defied the cold and rain later in the day to roll in his seventh birdie putt of the round at 17, although he was unable to take advantage of the par-five last as he remained two shots behind Ilonen, who arrived in Ayrshire on the back of four consecutive missed cuts.

Knappe, meanwhile, produced a stunning display to match the best round of the week and surge into contention at nine under. There's some experience in there. 1-6 and was delighted that a decision to use a new set of irons this week paid off.

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"Everything just fell into place for me and I was playing out of my mind a little bit".

Fowler is tied at the top with Australian Andrew Dodt and the English duo of Ian Poulter and Callum Shinkwin.

Among those on four under, three back, are Matt Kuchar, Benjamin Hebert and local duo Stephen Gallacher and Richie Ramsay.

The resulting double bogey was at least followed by a first birdie of the day on the par-five 14th, but another bogey on the 18th, where he pitched into a greenside bunker, took the four-time major victor to the turn in 40. When he then dumped one from the middle of the fairway at the 13th into a burn to run up a double-bogey 6 and go four-over after four holes, the large crowd out following McIlroy's group could scarcely believe what they were
seeing. He rallied with three birdies after the turn, though a closing bogey at the last left him with another mountain to climb and still no sign of the form he's desperate to uncover before the start of the Open.