Golf: Willett shoots 69 in Scottish Open first round

Danny Willett
Danny Willett
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A birdie on the final hole helped Danny Willett finish with a one under 69 in the opening round of the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen.

The Sheffield man hit a double-bogey in the par five second, though recovered to bogey the third and another birdie in the sixth was swiftly followed at the next hole by a bogey.

Willett’s game settled in the back nine with further birdies on the 10th and 12th and although he took five shots in the par four 15th, that birdie in the 18th made sure the 26 year old finished under par.

Matt Fitzpatrick’s attempt to gain a spot in next week’s Open Championship remains on course as he finished on two under after a round that included three birdies and a bogey.

There are three qualifying places up for grabs and the Sheffield teenager must finish in the top ten if he is to get one.

Rory McIlroy leads the competition after a course record of 64. Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg had established a new mark of 65 after going out in the first group at 6:30am, but that lasted a matter of two hours as McIlroy also made light of the windy conditions.

The former world number one carded eight birdies and one just bogey, even driving the green on the downwind par-four 13th - a distance of 436 yards.

“Everything was pretty much on,” a delighted McIlroy said. “I controlled my ball flight really well which is the key to me playing well in these conditions and on these courses.

“I’ve been working the last 10 days on keeping the ball down, hitting easy shots and taking spin off it and I went out there today and really trusted what I practiced.”