McIlroy carded six birdies and four bogeys at The Renaissance Club to finish well down the leaderboard before heading straight to the airport for a flight to Belfast ahead of the first Open at Royal Portrush since 1951.

“It would obviously mean the world to me (to win), just like winning at Hoylake meant the world,” the 2014 Open champion said.

“I’m just going to treat it like it’s another Open Championship. Other people can make it different if that’s what they want to do. It might be a bit more of a home-style atmosphere than I am used to but I can’t control that. I can only go out there and play good golf.

“I know what to expect. The atmosphere might be a little louder and a little different but the objective is the same, give myself a chance to win another Claret Jug.”

McIlroy was among the players who felt that the combination of a rain-softened Renaissance Club and a lack of wind had not provided the kind of test he was looking for ahead of Portrush, but added: “I’m really happy with what I have done this week.

“I definitely feel more comfortable about links golf having had a week of it. I didn’t judge the lines around the greens very well but that’s just about getting used to links golf so if I can just sharpen that up I will be right there.”