Rickie Fowler makes up for lost time at Scottish Open

Rickie Fowler already has one Scottish Open title winning in 2015

Rickie Fowler already has one Scottish Open title winning in 2015

"I would have loved to have been here", he said.

The 2013 Masters champion hasn't played since missing the cut at the U.S. Open three weeks ago and will be looking to sharpen his links game with four rounds under tournament conditions ahead of Royal Birkdale.

"I also enjoy playing the week before the Majors just to get myself ready to go, tick off some boxes".

McIlroy had crashed early to be four-over par after just four holes on route to an eventual two over-par 74 on the Dundonald Links course near Irvine. 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.

The latter, who is a two-time Challenge Tour victor, made seven birdies, one eagle and just two bogeys to sign for a magnificent seven-under-par 65, leaving the 28-year-old in prime position to break his duck on the European circuit.

Illonen's fortunes could not have been more contrasting, a run of five birides in six holes on his back nine helping the Finn move clear at the top of the leaderboard.

Starting from the tenth, Ilonen birdied the 14th and 15th before catching first after the turn. 1-6 and was delighted that a decision to use a new set of irons this week paid off.

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Fowler, contesting the event for a first occasion since winning in 2015 at Gullane, shares second with European Tour based compatriot, Paul Peterson, Aussie Andrew Dodt and the England duo of Woburn wonder Ian Poulter and Watford's Callum Shinkwin.

The four-time major victor had not missed successive cuts since May 2015 and briefly looked on course to survive after three birdies in an unblemished front nine.

Noren, who turned 35 on Wednesday, tees up in the first round sitting in ninth place in the world rankings having captured a ninth Tour title in May courtesy of a sizzling final day and equal career low round of 62 that saw him win the BMW PGA Championship.

Eight of the world's top 23 have chosen to play competitive golf at the Scottish Open rather than practice in the week leading up to Royal Birkdale.

It's been a hard year for McIlroy on the course as injury has cut into his schedule and left him with limited competition time, this week just his ninth tournament since January.

A birdie followed but he dropped another shot at the par-five 18th.

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