By Simon Evans
PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (Reuters) – Perhaps only British Open champion Shane Lowry left Royal Portrush on Sunday more pleased than Robert MacIntyre, the young Scot who tied for sixth in his first major championship.
The 22-year-old left-hander from Oban, already with a pair of runner-up finishes on the European Tour this season, made his debut a memorable one and further enhanced his growing reputation as one to keep an eye on.
He made only one bogey in a stellar three-under-par 68 in difficult conditions on Sunday, when the wind blew and the rain fell, just how it’s meant to be in links golf he observed.
And he could hardly have been happier after capping off his week by sinking a lengthy birdie at the final hole.
“Highlight of the week has to be holing a 15-20-footer on 18 there. The hair is standing on the back of your neck when that putt went in,” said MacIntyre.
“Unfortunately that putt wasn’t to win the Open but it’s put me in good position for the future.”
The result will boost MacIntyre’s world ranking to the edge of the top 100, and he is a healthy 14th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai season-long ranking.
Now he will have three weeks off before gearing up for the end of the season, and he will certainly savour his recent form.
“You never know how many of these you’re going to get,” he said of his Open appearance.
“For the first one, it’s been a dream come true. It’s time to enjoy this one.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)