Rory McIlroy has impressed in the opening two majors of 2009
Rory McIlroy believes he can be a contender at the Open, but only if he stays patient on the Turnberry links.
The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland is among the favourites despite this being his first Open as a professional.
"I've proved to myself that I do have the game to get around major championships," he said.
"It's about staying patient - as long as I stay patient and don't get ahead of myself I know my game can stand up to the hardest test in golf."
McIlroy, who finished 20th in this year's US Masters and 10th in the US Open, will start at 1331 BST on Thursday alongside Retief Goosen and young American Anthony Kim.
The world number 22 made his Open debut in 2007 as an amateur and finished tied 42nd.
He added: "I sometimes say to myself this is only your second Open championship.
"You'll have 20 or 30 more of these. There's no point trying to rush into things.
"But there's also a part of me that says: 'You know you've got the game to do well here.'
"It's a balance between having the right expectations and trying to fulfil those.
"It's hard because walking up the 18th you catch yourself thinking 'Oh, what if this happens or that happens, how good would it be to win the Open.'
"It's something you've got to deal with. I'm getting better and better at it every week."