MacIn­tyre is the Master of Muir­field

I had to dig deep in the fi­nal. I just kept telling my­self not to give up’

The Oban Times - - Sport -

ON THE same green where Phil Mick­el­son lifted his first Claret Jug at Muir­field two years ago, another ‘leftie’ had his mo­ment at the renowned venue on Satur­day.

Af­ter pro­duc­ing a quite stun­ning come­back, Robert MacIn­tyre claimed the Fair­stone Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship, be­com­ing the first left-han­der in liv­ing mem­ory to se­cure the ti­tle.

Two days be­fore his 19th birth­day, the Oban player, at­tached to Glen­cruit­ten golf club, gave him­self an early birth­day present with a two-hole vic­tory over Craigie Hill’s Daniel Young.

It was the first stag­ing of the Scot­tish Am­a­teur at Muir­field since 1968, home to The Honourable Com­pany of Ed­in­burgh Golfers, and how the 256-man field en­joyed com­pet­ing on one of the world’s best lay­outs last week.

On a blus­tery but largely pleas­ant day in East Loth­ian, MacIn­tyre’s bid looked set to be blown off course when he trailed to his fel­low Scot­land in­ter­na­tional by four holes at lunch in the 36-hole fi­nal.

Young, the reign­ing South African am­a­teur win­ner af­ter his vic­tory at Sil­ver Lakes in March, showed his match­play pedi­gree to carve out an im­pres­sive lead, mainly thanks to his short game prow­ess.

But for­mer Scot­tish youths cham­pion MacIn­tyre, a col­lege stu­dent at McNeese State Univer­sity in the US, dug deep to pro­duce a stun­ning come­back to level the con­test at the 27th. Young edged ahead once more with an im­me­di­ate birdie at the 28th, but MacIn­tyre re­fused to be de­nied and went ahead for the first time in the match at the 31st, when some brief rain showers threat­ened to spoil the oc­ca­sion for both the play­ers and the healthy crowd.

In a see-saw match that was en­gross­ing to watch, MacIn­tyre’s bo­gey at the 32nd lev­elled the show­down again, be­fore the Ar­gyll and Bute teenager de­ci­sively went one up when Young missed from four feet at the 35th be­fore he clinched the win on the fi­nal green.

‘It feels un­be­liev­able,’ said Scot­tish Golf Academy grad­u­ate MacIn­tyre, who em­u­lates past Scot­tish Am­a­teur win­ners like Colin Mont­gomerie and Stephen Gal­lacher. ‘It’s my first vic­tory at Men’s level in Scot­land so I guess it’s not a bad one to win, prob­a­bly the best. I went out onto the range af­ter lunch and felt I was hit­ting it good, so just took it out to the golf course.’

Robert, coached by Ge­orge Boswell, added: ‘It feels great to be the first left-han­der in liv­ing mem­ory. I be­lieved I had a chance this week, com­ing in with a re­laxed mind­set. It got me through so far and I just had to dig deep in the fi­nal. I just kept telling my­self not to give up.’

MacIn­tyre, who will rise from his World Am­a­teur Golf Rank­ing of 154, be­lieves his first year of com­pe­ti­tion at his Univer­sity in Louisiana helped him se­cure the na­tional crown.

‘Amer­ica has helped me im­mensely,’ he ad­mit­ted. ‘Not just the golf, but the belief. I was as calm as ever com­ing up the last, I just felt in con­trol. Over the putt on the fi­nal green, I was just think­ing “get this done”.

‘The golf has been great in the US, play­ing com­pe­ti­tions ev­ery week. I’ve been play­ing against the likes of Jon Rahm, the world No 1, and played against a lot of top 50 guys. I’ve been get­ting that com­pet­i­tive edge ev­ery week.’

Photo: Kenny Smith

JUST CHAM­PION: Oban golfer Robert MacIn­tyre in ac­tion dur­ing the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Open at Muir­field.

Photo Kenny Smith

TOP MAN: A re­laxed Robert MacIn­tyre dur­ing his vic­tory at Muir­field

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