IRVINE, Scotland — Rickie Fowler skipped the defense of his Scottish Open title last year with a heavy heart. He began making up for lost time Thursday.
Fowler picked up where he left off in 2015 at the warmup event for next week's British Open, avoiding trouble and rolling in five birdies at Dundonald Links to shoot 5-under 67 in the first round. He was in a six-way tie for second, two behind Mikko Ilonen.
Fowler missed the 2016 tournament because of scheduling conflicts arising from the Olympics, which clogged up the golfing calendar last summer.
"I would have loved to have been here," he said. "Coming off winning the year before, I love playing links golf, and I love playing the week before a major. It was tough to miss it. I'm just glad to be back."
Fowler outplayed his partners Rory McIlroy (74) and Henrik Stenson (72), continuing his consistent form this year. Fowler has contended at both previous majors and has seven top-10 finishes this season.
Wedge play was McIlroy's undoing on a day he failed to shoot the consistent round he has been seeking ahead of the British Open. McIlroy has missed the cut in two of his past three events.
Bad weather stymies U.S. Women's Open
BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Shanshan Feng shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 and held the clubhouse lead when the first round of the U.S. Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club was suspended because of darkness.
Amy Yang was in the clubhouse a shot back, and Lydia Ko finished at 68 along with top-ranked So Yeon Ryu. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome finished her round 3 over.
Despite complaints about playing the biggest event in women's golf on a course owned by President Donald Trump, there were no apparent protests. His son Eric showed up and mingled with fans without incident. He said he would attend all four rounds of the tournament and didn't rule out the possibility of a visit from the president this weekend.
The only problem was the weather. Lightning delayed play for 2 hours, 5 minutes late in the afternoon, and the horn sounded to stop play for the day at 8:33 p.m.
PGA: Charles Howell III and Ollie Schniederjans shot 8-under 63 in perfect morning conditions to share the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic at Silvis, Ill. Zach Johnson was two strokes back with Rory Sabbatini, Patrick Rodgers and Chad Campbell. Johnson won the 2012 tournament. The British Open is holding one spot for the leading player among the top five who is not already exempt next week at Royal Birkdale.
Champions: Larry Mize birdied half the holes and shot 8-under 64 for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Senior Players Championship in Owings Mills, Md. Three-time defending champion Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin and Steve Flesch were one shot back.