Article

Aggressive McIlroy doing it his way, not the fairway

19 July 2018 20:12

Rory McIlroy insists he will stick to his aggressive approach after enduring a wild ride around Carnoustie that ended with a 69 on his scorecard.

The 2014 champion golfer of the year was one of the few players to regularly pull the driver out of his bag on Thursday, with most of the field hitting irons to focus on accuracy over distance.

McIlroy only hit 26.7 per cent of fairways, but the four-time major winner is confident he has got the right game plan to conquer the 147th Open Championship.

"I didn't see the fairway much, but as I said at the start of the week, it's very playable from not in the fairway," he said.

"As long as you don't hit it in the fairway bunkers, you're always going to have a shot at the green. That's why I tried to stay as aggressive as I possibly could even though I wasn't hitting the driver maybe as well as I could, and I kept missing.

"You know, it wasn't pretty off the tee, but I got it done, and I took advantage of some unfortunate bounces. I would have taken 69 to start the day.

"Even if you play aggressive around here, you might make more bogeys than playing it safe, but you're going to make more birdies as well. You're going to give yourself more birdie looks.

"That's my game plan this week. I'm convinced that that's the way that I should play it. It's not going to be for everyone, but it worked out pretty well."

Asked if he would adopt the same tactics on Friday, when he is among the early starters amid the forecast of rain at the Angus links course, the Northern Irishman responded: "Yes, hopefully I'll hit a few more fairways, but I'll adopt the same strategy."

McIlroy's two-under-par effort left him three strokes adrift of early leader Kevin Kisner, with Erik van Rooyen, Tony Finau and Zander Lombard one stroke worse off than the American, and three-time Open champion Tiger Woods one under through 13.

Reigning champion Jordan Spieth dropped four shots over the final four holes to finish one over, while Dustin Johnson's triple-bogey seven at the last left him well back on five over.

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