WATCH: Graeme McDowell makes battling start at the Scottish Open

The Antrim native picked up four birdies on his way to a two-under par opening round

Graeme McDowell

Image: Golfweek

Graeme McDowell negotiated difficult conditions today at the Scottish Open to card an opening round 70 to sit one shot adrift of joint-leaders Scott Hend and Felipe Aguilar.

McDowell picked up four birdies as well as two bogeys and was in good mood after the round, with one eye looking toward next week's Open at Royal Troon.

"It was a bit of a battle out there at times," he said, "Wind speeds certainly increased as the day went on. Holes like 18 here up on top were very, very exposed. Even the downwind holes are tough, you know it's very tough to get the ball close to the hole.

"You're doing a lot of long range putting. The greens are so slow because of the wind strength conditions, they have to keep a bit of grass on the surface. It's tough to get your speed up but the greens are very pure."

Looking ahead to next week's Open he said: "I think the two days in Troon were a big help coming into this week. The wind really really blew hard Saturday and Sunday when I was there. I hit a lot of shots controlling my ball flight across the wind and into the wind... If it continues to blow like this it's going to be a grind."

 Via Golfweek Mag