Robert MacIntyre seals maiden win after coming through ‘tough’ lockdown
An emotional Robert MacIntyre revealed how he had struggled to deal with the coronavirus lockdown after producing a brilliant finish to claim his first European Tour title in the Cyprus Showdown.
MacIntyre birdied four of his last six holes at Aphrodite Hills to card a seven-under-par 64 and finish a shot ahead of Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.
The 24-year-old from Oban was inches away from a hole-in-one on the 17th and tapped in for birdie to briefly take the outright lead before Kawamura birdied the 18th to complete a 65.
That left MacIntyre needing to birdie the last to win and the left-hander followed a perfect drive with a solid approach before safely two-putting from 20 feet to secure victory.
“It’s been a tough lockdown for me and the family,” MacIntyre said. “I’ve struggled mentally and to finally get over the line means the world.
“The first nine, 10 weeks (of lockdown) were fine. I had things to do, trying to lose weight, become stronger and me and a friend were on Peloton almost every day. We had a target and when that finished there was nothing for us to do.
“I was wasting time, wasting away and started to struggle. I spoke to my mum and she guided me in the right direction and I went to see a psychologist who has helped me huge.
“I didn’t have the motivation for a wee while, I wasn’t wanting to play golf and wasn’t enjoying it. I finally got the bug back and it’s what happens. You start practicing more, enjoying it; you could see the smile on my face last week, never mind this week.”
MacIntyre finished in a tie for third in the Cyprus Open at the same venue seven days ago and was aided by a new set of irons as he got to grips with the unique format of this week’s event.
The 105-man field was reduced to the top 32 players and ties after two rounds of strokeplay, with their scores reset ahead of round three.
The top 16 and ties then advanced to Sunday’s final round with their scores again reset to level par, setting up an 18-hole shoot-out for 200,000 euro first prize.
“It was different,” MacIntyre admitted. “I’m sure there will be changes in the structure after the first two rounds to give you something more to play for when you’re at the top of the leaderboard in the first two rounds rather than just coasting in.
“It’s probably more entertaining to watch on TV because anything could have happened. It keeps everyone entertained until someone takes control. I enjoyed it, it was something different and it did suit my game the way I was playing. I was taking every pin out that I could.”
Spain’s Jorge Campillo eagled the 18th to finish alone in third on five under par, with last week’s winner Callum Shinkwin a shot further back alongside Thomas Detry and Johannes Veerman.
England’s Marcus Armitage had also been four under par with one hole to play but ran up a triple-bogey eight after hitting two balls out of bounds with his approach to the par five.
Rory McIlroy boosts chances of third RBC Canadian Open title with flawless 67
McIlroy recorded five birdies at Oakdale Golf and Country Club to improve to six under par, three shots off the midway lead held by China’s Carl Yuan.
England’s Dale Whitnell holds six-shot lead at Scandinavian Mixed
The 34-year-old will take a commanding lead into the weekend of the event which sees men and women compete against each other.
Georgia Hall hopes Ryann O’Toole relationship helps others be true to themselves
The relationship blossomed after the duo were paired in a tournament in 2022.
5 major contenders for the 123rd US Open
Matt Fitzpatrick is bidding to join Brooks Koepka in winning back-to-back titles.
US Open offers on-course respite from golf’s turbulent times
Matt Fitzpatrick will defend his title with many questions still hanging over the game’s future.
Architect of golf’s surprise merger calls for people ‘to come together’
Jimmy Dunne said there is ‘too much divisiveness’ between the rival tours.
Matt Fitzpatrick one off pace in Canadian Open ahead of title defence
England’s Aaron Rai shares the first-round lead in final event before US Open.
Matt Fitzpatrick one off lead at Canadian Open as compatriot Aaron Rai sets pace
Rai was one of three players on five under par midway through the opening round.
Paul McGinley: PGA Tour players will feel like the losers out of golf merger
The former Ryder Cup captain feels PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has put himself in a “very tricky position”.
Rory McIlroy left feeling ‘like a sacrificial lamb’ after golf merger
McIlroy was kept in the dark about the stunning deal which was announced on Tuesday.