Rory McIlroy still searching for form

Bernhard Langer has won the Senior Players the past three years

Rory McIlroy is recreating his British Open build-up from 2014 in an attempt to rediscover some form for another shot at the claret jug at Royal Birkdale next week.

Four of the highest ranked players in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open field have expressed their delight at teeing it up in the Home of Golf for a week of links golf ahead of The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale next week.

"I think it's fair to say I'm trying to stay patient but it's proving hard, it always has been for me".

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.

Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the Scottish Open as Alexander Knappe shot a seven-under-par 65 to move into a three-way tie for the lead with Padraig Harrington and Callum Shinkwin.

The 36-year-old has recorded five top-10s at the Open and looked all set for victory at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012 before bogeying the last four holes to finish second by one shot behind Ernie Els. I 've kind of come to the conclusion that I've pretty much done what I've done in the game of golf. I feel like I'm doing a lot of good things.

The Irishman defied the cold and rain later in the day to roll in his seventh birdie putt of the round at 17, although he was unable to take advantage of the par-five last as he remained two shots behind Ilonen, who arrived in Ayrshire on the back of four consecutive missed cuts.

"I've gone through little periods like this in the past, and I've hit form and I've been able to run with it and sort of ride on the crest of a wave for a few months". Just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week.

No South African has ever won the Scottish Open, but with 12 players in the field this week there are some serious contenders to end that streak.

He had to take time off earlier this year to recover but he continues to struggle after missing the cut at the Irish Open last week. "Links golf is probably my favorite".

"Anything that comes my way from here would be a bonus", said Harrington, who has played just nine events in 2017 and underwent surgery on a trapped nerve in his neck in March.

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