Rory McIlroy got his buzz back with a three-mendous comeback performance at blustery Baltray.

The Holywood kingpin was beaming after turning on the style for his Irish fans in his first event on European soil his year.

Two-over with 10 holes to play, he racked up five birdies on his homeward stretch to stay in the hunt with a three-under par 69.

Delighted to get excited after two flat weeks in the US, he said: "It's fantastic. I'm getting a real buzz out of it and there's a nice atmosphere, there's a lot of support.

"It's something that I've missed after the Masters, which was such a good feeling, but the last couple of events have been a let down to be honest.

"To get back here and to see the crowds and the atmosphere, it gets me up for it again. You know hopefully that round today can set me up for a good week.

"I spent a lot of time in America and I was able to adapt pretty well to the conditions out there but I feel more comfortable over here to be honest.

"I love the European Tour and for my first event to be back in Ireland is really, really cool.

"With the fans and the support and everything, I don't feel that I have to play well but there's a little bit of pressure and hopefully I can rise to it this week.”

McIlroy started slowly on Baltray’s back nine as he followed bogeys at the 11th and 12th by lipping out from close range for birdies at the 15th and 16th.

But a great up and down from sand at the par-five 18th gave him his first birdie of the day and he then took advantage of the easier front nine by grabbing pitch and putt birdies at the par five second, third, sixth and the par-four ninth.

Happy to post a score after missing the cut as Sawgrass in last week’s Players, he said: "The front nine, which was our back nine, is the nine to score on and I was able to do that.

"I still didn't feel very comfortable with my game, I was leaking a few out to the right but I'll work on it this afternoon and I got around in three under, which is I think not out of it. So it's a solid start.”

As for his comments on the Ryder Cup being just an exhibition, he refused to back track and confessed the skipper Colin Montgomerie (70) didn’t mention it as they played together with defending champion Richard Finch (73).

He said: "I just asked him about his three picks and he was saying if he plays well enough to qualify he's going to give that away and he's going to have four picks. So we were just laughing about it.

“The Ryder Cup is a great event for the golf world, don't get me wrong, it is probably the best spectacle for golf.

"But it's for the spectators to enjoy and I just said that sometimes it's been taking a little bit too seriously.

"It's a massive event and obviously I'd love to play in it but as I said I'd rather win a major than the Ryder Cup.

"It's a massive event and I just think that if I'm ever fortunate enough to get on the team I'll enjoy it and enjoy the week and not get fist-pumping and stuff, and try to enjoy the moment.”