Sunday People




RORY MCILROY wants to blow away his Renaissanc­e rivals and secure a longoverdu­e first win in Scotland, “the home of golf”.

The Northern Irish star leads by a shot at the weather-buffeted Genesis Scottish Open going into today’s final round at the Renaissanc­e Club.

Mcilroy has never won a tournament on Scottish soil.

The world No.3 started early yesterday, as tournament chiefs hauled play forward to avoid forecast thundersto­rms.

Mcilroy and his rivals will again go out early this morning with predicted high winds of 40mph forcing another late change in schedule.

Three-balls will now have a two-tee start between 6.45am to 8.57am.

Mcilroy said: “I’ve had a lot of close calls in Scotland in Opens and Dunhill Links and all sorts of stuff. It’d be fantastic to win.

“I remember playing this Open at Loch Lomond in 2005, my first Scottish Open – 18 years is too long to not pick up a trophy in this country. It is the home of golf.”

Mcilroy is being backed all the way by the local galleries and the player loves the East Lothian support.

He continued: “It’s amazing. I feel very fortunate and lucky that I do get well-supported anywhere that I go and I’m probably going to need all the encouragem­ent I can get in the final round, certainly with the conditions.

“These supporters are very knowledgea­ble. For example my shot into the 18th, it’s a 165-yard shot, but the pin is on the left up on a little plateau. I hit it

40-feet right.

They know that’s a pretty good golf shot.

“In other parts of the world, they’d see you hit a shot from that far away and put it to that distance, you wouldn’t get a clap – because they just couldn’t appreciate the difficulty.

“So it’s nice to play in front of them.”

Mcilroy is enjoying the Renaissanc­e ambience and added: “I take it for granted because it’s where I grew up. I played so much in Ireland, Scotland and England.

“I hated St Andrews the first time I played it, so I

BYEONG HUN AN reckons he can’t lose in the fight for the final Open places.

The South Korean and American Eric Cole lead the battle to land the three Hoylake spots available from the Scottish Open.

An (right), who led after day one at the Renaissanc­e, and Cole are three shots behind leader Rory Mcilroy with 18 holes to go.

The 2015 BMW PGA Championsh­ip winner wants a berth in the 151st Open Championsh­ip, but admits he’s in a think as time has gone on, I’ve become more romantic and I’ve appreciate­d it more, but probably not quite as romantic as some.”

Mcilroy had to dig deep at times for a 67 which protected his one-shot overnight lead from South Korea’s Tom Kim (left). Tommy Fleetwood and America’s Brian Harman are two behind and the pack are close.

Fleetwood said: “I’m excited. I’d like to not get too far away and see what the conditions bring. If it’s rough, it’s rough. If it’s nice, that will do, too.”

Mcilroy added: “It’s going to be difficult for everyone.

“When the wind gets up, there’s a lot of skill involved, but it’s also attitude and staying upbeat when you’re probably going to get bad breaks here or there.

“The guy with the best attitude is the guy who is going to have the best chance out there.” win-win position. An has a flight booked to go to Washington tomorrow and said: “If I get in, it’s great. If not, then I’ll go home to see my family.

“I don’t see any losing point here. At least I’d get to go home, or I go to The Open.

“The Open would be a little better I think. But it’s golf. You never know.”

England’s Harry Hall holds the third Hoylake slot at nine-under par, one ahead of Swedish trio David Lingmerth, Joakim Lagergren and Sebastian Soderberg.

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