Rory McIlroy signs off in Scotland as Portrush looms
Bernd Wiesberger eventually came out on top after an error-strewn playoff
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the second green during day four of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick. Photo: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy admits it would “mean the world” to win an Open Championship on home soil after completing the ASI Scottish Open with an error-strewn final round.
In the end it was Bernd Wiesberger who followed his second place finish at the Irish Open last week with a playoff victory over Benjamin Hebert.
McIlroy carded six birdies and four bogeys in a 69 at The Renaissance Club to finish well down the leaderboard at 13 under before heading straight to the airport for a flight to Belfast ahead of the first Open at Royal Portrush since 1951.
“It would obviously mean the world to me (to win), just like winning at Hoylake meant the world,” the 2014 Open champion said.
“I’m just going to treat it like it’s another Open Championship. Other people can make it different if that’s what they want to do. It might be a bit more of a home-style atmosphere than I am used to but I can’t control that. I can only go out there and play good golf.
“I know what to expect. The atmosphere might be a little louder and a little different but the objective is the same, give myself a chance to win another Claret Jug.”
McIlroy was among the players who felt that the combination of a rain-softened Renaissance Club and a lack of wind had not provided the kind of test he was looking for ahead of Portrush, but added: “I’m really happy with what I have done this week.
“I definitely feel more comfortable about links golf having had a week of it. I didn’t judge the lies around the greens very well but that’s just about getting used to links golf so if I can just sharpen that up I will be right there.”
After a final round 69, overnight leader Wiesberger was tied with Hebert who fired a stunning 62 to join the Austrian at 22 under and force extra holes.
And, in the end, those final holes would prove to be a lot more error-strewn than the first four days. At the first time of asking Hebert missed a 15-foot birdie putt to win after Wiesberger had made par.
Second time around the Frenchman had an even better chance to clinch his first ever European Tour victory when he faced 20 feet for birdie while Wiesberger was struggling. However, the Frenchman raced his birdie putt past and missed the putt back for par which would have sealed the victory after Wiesberger had bogeyed.
In the end it was a par that got it done for the Austrian after Hebert three-putted for the second time in succession.