Rory McIlroy is refusing to get concerned about his pre-Open form after suffering an early exit from the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
The world No 4 bounced back from an opening-round 74 at Dundonald Links by birdieing three of his first seven holes on Friday, only to miss the cut by a shot after signing off with a one-under 71.
It means McIlroy heads to The Open off the back of three missed cuts in his past four starts, although the Northern Irishman remains confident his game his trending in the right direction ahead of Royal Birkdale.
“I’m not that far away,” McIlroy told reporters after his round. “I’m missing cuts, but I’m just on the wrong side of doing something quite good.
“I’ve just got to stay patient, but hopefully next week I can say I stayed patient and it sort of worked out.
“I’ll probably head down to Birkdale early, get some early practice rounds in. Just try to get myself ready for that golf course and the test that that’s going to provide next week.”
McIlroy rolled in from five feet to save par at the first and posted a two-putt birdie at the third, before picking up another tap-in gain at the par-five fifth.
A six-foot birdie at the seventh lifted McIlroy back in to red figures and saw him reach the turn in 33, with the four-time major winner holing from 10 feet to save par at the 11th.
The round quickly unravelled when McIlroy needed two attempts to get out of a bunker on his way to a double-bogey at the 13th, ending the week one over after being unable to pick up any birdies along the closing stretch.
“I’m frustrated, but at the same time I thought I saw some good signs out there” McIlroy said. “I thought my putting improved this week compared to last week.
“I hit some better wedges today, but there’s still room for improvement. It’s hard to sort of put my finger on it, but it’s not like I’m shooting 76s and 77s.
“I’m just waiting for something, some sort of spark, something to go right, and the last couple weeks haven’t been like that. “I’ve just got to keep plugging away and hopefully it turns around next week.”