MacIntyre is the Master of Muirfield
I had to dig deep in the final. I just kept telling myself not to give up’
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.’
JUST CHAMPION: Oban golfer Robert MacIntyre in action during the Scottish Amateur Open at Muirfield.
TOP MAN: A relaxed Robert MacIntyre during his victory at Muirfield