Glen­cruit­ten golfer sets his sights on turn­ing pro­fes­sional next year

The Oban Times - - SPORT - DAVID MCPHEE dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

SCOT­TISH Ama­teur Golfer of the Year Robert MacIn­tyre will spend one more sea­son as an ama­teur be­fore test­ing him­self on the pro­fes­sional cir­cuit.

Robert was awarded the pres­ti­gious ama­teur of the year ac­co­lade af­ter hav­ing ‘his best year on the course’, fin­ish­ing the sea­son as the lead­ing Scot in the world ama­teur golf rank­ings. He is cur­rently in 11th place.

The left-handed player’s year got off to a fly­ing start when he won the Scot­tish Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons tour­na­ment at Leven Golf­ing So­ci­ety. The 20-year- old car­ried this mo­men­tum in to the highly re­garded Bri­tish Ama­teur Cham­pi­onship but un­for­tu­nately the Glen­cruit­ten golfer had to set­tle for sec­ond place. ‘ That was a dis­ap­point­ment,’ said Robert. ‘You see the boy that I played get­ting all the in­vites to the masters and the Euro­pean tour events.

‘It’s hard to take, but it was prob­a­bly a good thing. It would have been a year too early for me to win that be­cause it’s a life- chang­ing tour­na­ment if you win it.’

Af­ter this com­pe­ti­tion, Robert trav­elled to Es­to­nia to play in the Euro­pean in­di­vid­ual tour­na­ment, where he fin­ished fourth.

‘I didn’t have a prac­tice round or any­thing,’ said Robert. ‘Ev­ery­one’s clubs didn’t ar­rive and I had with­drawn. Then the clubs ar­rived and they phoned me up say­ing you’re back in the tour­na­ment so get to the golf course, with all the Scot­tish guys tee­ing off last to­gether.’

Robert then went on to rep­re­sent his coun­try in France, be­fore rep­re­sent­ing Great Bri­tain and Ire­land in the St An­drew’s Tro­phy com­pe­ti­tion.

The Great Bri­tain and Ire­land team re­tained the tro­phy, but this was an event the Oban man would like to for­get.

‘It wasn’t a good week,’ he said. ‘I played the first round in the dou­bles and got beat, then got beat in my sin­gles, then got dropped for the dou­bles the next day.’

Robert did get a ‘ vi­tal half’ on the sec­ond last match, how­ever.

‘But we re­tained the tro­phy,’ he added. ‘Pos­i­tives.’

Robert, who is now able to laugh about the St An­drews com­pe­ti­tion, then flew out to Amer­ica to com­pete in the US Ama­teur Cham­pi­onship.

He said: ‘I went there with Ali MacLean. He was cad­dy­ing for me. It was bril­liant. We stayed with a host fam­ily. It’s prob­a­bly the best-run event I have ever been at.’

But the event didn’t go to plan and the for­mer Scot­tish ama­teur cham­pion was knocked out in the sec­ond round.

‘It’s huge as well,’ he added. ‘If you’re go­ing to win one, that’s the one to win.’

The jet-set­ting Oban golfer fin­ished his sea­son in Mex­ico where he com­peted for Scot­land in the world ama­teur cham­pi­onships. He and an­other two Scots flew out and were lead­ing the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter the first day of play. But the trio fell away to­wards the end. Robert said: ‘ We fin­ished in the top 15, when we should re­ally be top five, so it wasn’t a great week.’

It was dur­ing this tour­na­ment he found out he had been cho­sen as Scot­tish Ama­teur of the Year. ‘It was nice,’ he said. ‘ You com­pete all year for your­self and then you get told you’re ama­teur of the year, which goes on world rank­ings, so it shows that your good weeks have been very good and your poor weeks have not been hor­ren­dous to be able to get the rank­ing points.’

The Scot­tish ama­teur of the year is plan­ning on ‘go­ing pro’ this time next year but be­fore he does, he will have to se­cure a num­ber of spon­sors.

Speak­ing about turn­ing pro­fes­sional, he said: ‘It’s some­thing I have al­ways wanted to do ever since I got se­ri­ously into the golf. Prob­a­bly when I was about 11 I thought ‘right, I want to do this’. I de­cided then I had to stop play­ing shinty.

‘It’s just an­other step. I think some peo­ple do over com­pli­cate it, but you’re just go­ing to play, and you’re go­ing to get paid if you do it well. You are just play­ing a golf course.’

Robert will fly out to Or­lando at the end of this month with the Scot­tish golf team to take part in a train­ing camp be­fore fly­ing to Aus­tralia in Jan­u­ary for the first rank­ing event of the sea­son.

But be­fore the sea­son starts, there’s work to be done, he said. ‘I’ve got to work more. ‘This sea­son was my worst tee to green ball strik­ing but it was my best year on the course.

‘This year I am go­ing to try and do that bet­ter and com­pete in the big ama­teur events again and hope­fully walk away with one of them.’

Glen­cruit­ten Golf Club sec­re­tary David Fin­layson said: ‘It’s dif­fi­cult to put it into words. He’s been an out­stand­ing am­bas­sador for Glen­cruit­ten Golf Club and to Scot­tish golf.

‘ Win­ning the Scot­tish ama­teur cham­pi­onship is phe­nom­e­nal for some­one from quite a small club. Win­ning the Scot­tish Ama­teur of the Year is very im­pres­sive. It’s been very good for Glen­cruit­ten and for Ar­gyll and Bute. He’s pro­mot­ing Glen­cruit­ten and pro­mot­ing golf in Scot­land.

‘In five years, you can see him mak­ing it to the pro­fes­sional ranks. He’s def­i­nitely got the po­ten­tial to get there and I think he will achieve it.’

Glen­cruit­ten Golf Club’s Robert MacIn­tyre - Scot­tish Ama­teur Golfer of the Year.

Robert hopes to turn pro­fes­sional next year.

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