Glencruitten golfer sets his sights on turning professional next year
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 ‘Everyone’s clubs didn’t arrive and I had withdrawn.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.