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Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Rory McIlroy nearing best form as British Open looms large

Rory McIlroy nearing best form as British Open looms large

The Dundonald Links course is a 7,242-yard, par-72 layout that was designed by the highly acclaimed Kyle Phillips, whose creations also include Kingsbarns, one of the three venues for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. McIlroy also confronted a photographer who he thought had clicked his camera "too early" as Fowler hit his tee shot on No. 1.

The 146th Open is the first to be held at the par-70 Birkdale, set amid the sand dunes in Southport, near Liverpool in northwest England, since Padraig Harrington successfully defended the Claret Jug in 2008. So yeah, I've kind of come to the conclusion, I've pretty much done what I've done in the game of golf.

The world No 4 was seven strokes off the early lead as play neared the close and facing an uphill battle to avoid a third missed cut in four events. The unrivalled links experience of a man who has played in three Walker Cups and won two Opens means he is in the box-seat, but there are challengers. I've just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week.

"Anything that comes my way from here would be a bonus", added Harrington, who has played just nine events in 2017 and underwent surgery on a trapped nerve in his neck in March. He won this event at Gullane in 2015.

"Even last week, obviously I had a fantastic finish on Sunday but Saturday was a little bit of an average day and put me out of it a bit".

"I'd be much more anxious if I went out there and shot a couple of 76s and be nowhere near trying to make the cut or whatever", he said, before conceding that he still wasn't tournament ready. There is obviously a long way to go, but Fowler has more staying power than most of the top of the leaderboard.

Throw in the likes of Matt Kuchar, Bernd Wiesberger, Jason Dufner, Stuart Cink and Ian Poulter, and you have a field to appeal to any golf fan. Kyle Phillips did a good job of shaping the playing ground to replicate the sand hills and rolling terrain associated with traditional and established links courses. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and a few others will likely find their odds slightly better than his.

The four-time major victor had not missed successive cuts since May 2015 and was inside the projected cut after covering the front nine in 33, but needed two attempts to escape a greenside bunker on the 13th to double-bogey the par four for the second day running. What a feat that would be.

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