Ryder Cup hopeful Robert MacIntyre lies one shot off lead after second-round 68
Two days after his Ryder Cup prospects were talked up by Europe captain Padraig Harrington, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre lived up to the hype in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
MacIntyre added a second round of 68 to his opening 67 at Emirates Golf Club for a halfway total of nine under par, a shot behind Belgium’s Thomas Detry.
Tommy Fleetwood is part of the group on eight under after completing a second consecutive 68 with an eagle on the 18th, while Abu Dhabi winner Tyrrell Hatton bounced back brilliantly from an opening 76 with a 64 to lie four under.
MacIntyre recorded four birdies in a bogey-free round but said: “It wasn’t as pretty as yesterday’s round, if I’m being honest. But that’s the way golf is. You can’t have a 72-hole tournament where you hit it absolutely perfectly.
“Today I felt I was out of rhythm early on; the group itself, we couldn’t get any momentum within the group, which was difficult. But I hung in there and I putted great.”
MacIntyre, who was hailed as a “tough customer, a fighter” by Harrington on Wednesday, is currently ranked 52nd in the world and can qualify for the likes of the Players Championship and the Masters by breaking into the top 50 in the coming weeks.
“It’s a goal of mine but it’s all taken care of by good golf,” the 24-year-old left-hander added.
“I’m playing good golf and starting to find a stride with the irons. If I continue to do that, then that should hopefully take care of that. Mick (Thomson, his caddie) is doing a great job of keeping me in check and keeping me from losing a bit of cool. Just go and enjoy ourselves and see where we end up.”
Fleetwood finished seventh in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after a poor finish to the final round and is seeking a first victory since November 2019.
“I’m really happy,” the Ryder Cup star said after holing a lengthy eagle putt on the last. “It’s pretty tough out there. In the afternoon the course kind of firms out and the rough around the greens makes it pretty hard.
“So I think I played really well. The irons were good again and I managed to get it going a little bit when you had to stay really patient early doors.”
Hatton was in a tie for 115th after the first round but surged into the top 25 with a round containing a chip-in eagle on the par-five third and a holed bunker shot for birdie on the sixth.
“I’m pretty happy with that round of golf to be honest,” Hatton said. “The goal was to try to make the cut after the disappointing start so I’m really happy that I’m going to be here for the weekend.
“A little bit disappointed I didn’t birdie 17 or 18, but I can’t really complain with 64. Hoping that I can push on now and see where we go.”
Paul Casey and Lee Westwood are three shots off the lead following rounds of 70 and 68 respectively, with first round leader Richard Sterne on six under following a 74. Sergio Garcia is five under after a 73.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.