Rory McIlroy says he might play a links tournament before next year's Open at St Andrews.

With the Irish PGA at The European Club this year offering €26,009 compared to €4 million at clashing Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, does Rory know something about next year's schedule?

Could the Scottish Open be heading for a links course? Or has he got the guts to tell Chubby Chandler he's going to the Irish PGA? Or has the Irish Open secured the best date on the calendar?

McIlroy started with three bogeys and finished with three successive birdies for a 74 that left him on seven-over par in his first Open as a professional.

In between he added two double bogeys sixes, two bogeys and a tap in eagle three in a performance that summed up his erratic week.

Five over par through the first five holes, McIlroy plainly had problems with his ball flight and said he would consider changing his schedule next year to try and give himself a better chance at the Home of Golf.

He said: “It probably takes me a couple of weeks to adjust to links golf and getting used to flighting the ball low. Maybe if I played a links tournament the week before the Open it might help me a little better and I’ll probably think about that in the future just like Padraig plays the Irish PGA.

“I’ve hit some of the best shots out there that I’ve hit all year and I’ve hot some of the worst. Now all I have to do is try and bring it all together.

“It wasn’t the best of starts to say the least and I just didn’t hit the fairways, it was as simple as that and I put myself behind the eight ball. Actually from the sixth onwards I was one under par, five over through five and then I at least managed to hold it together. Overall I’m pretty happy and if I can finish the tournament the same way as I played the last nine holes today then hopefully I can shoot a good score."

Following his performances in the majors this year - 20th at Augusta and 10th at Bethpage - punters lashed the money on McIlroy this week.

But he wasn't fooled by his short odds - fourth favourite behind Tiger Woods - and denied that he felt under pressure.

“The favourite missed the cut so I’ve done better than him," McIlroy said. "I knew coming in here there were a lot of guys with a better chance of winning than me. I still feel it's too early for me to win a Major, I’ve still got a lot of learning to do, maybe in a couple of years time. If I can one in the next ten years I’ll still have one before I’m thirty.”

As for the final round, McIlroy conceded that he's played so badly this week that he'd be happy to improve on his 42nd place finish as an amateur in 2007.

He said: "If I can go out there and shoot a low score and finish better than that and make the top thirty or to twenty then I’ll feel like I’ve done well considering how I’ve played this week.”

Darren Clarke, meanwhile, failed to make a birdie in a 78 that left him on 10 over.

Clarke had 33 putts and three-putted three times.