Bob MacIntyre 'delighted' to be chasing leader Rory McIlroy in Dubai
Including one from just over 70 feet at the fourth, the 25-year-old Oban holed more than 160 feet of putts in the first 13 holes on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates and was up to approximately 180 feet by the time he finished.
A sensational day’s work with the flat stick was capped as he converted an 11-footer at the last to limit the spillage to a bogey after finding the creek with his third shot. The big fist pump as it dropped showed how important that could prove.
Having carded a five-under 67 for a 12-under total, MacIntyre sits joint-third, just two shots behind leader Rory McIlroy, in the season-ending $9 million Rolex Series event.
In-form McIlroy is not only bidding to make it back-to-back victories after his CJ Cup triumph on the PGA Tour last month but also become the first player to land three successes in this event following wins in 2012 and 2015.
It’s probably going to require something special for McIntyre or any of the others in the chasing pack to deny the Northern Irishman on a course he could probably play blindfolded and still shoot in the 60s.
But, having quickly become comfortable himself on the Greg Norman-designed layout - he’s now signed for eight sub-par scores in 11 circuits - MacIntyre is relishing the opportunity to land the biggest win of his career.
“Yeah, delighted,” said the 2020 Cyprus Showdown champion after signing for an eagle and five birdies. “We set a game plan at the start of the week, and tried to execute it as good as we could.
“We had the idea of four-under every round. Yesterday I dropped a shot; today I gained a shot. So we are right in the position that I was planning on being in.”
The Scot’s biggest performances so far have come in majors, having recorded two top-10 finishes in The Open and tying for 12th in The Masters. While McIlroy will be a tough man to beat, MacIntyre is going to give it his best shot.
“I'm playing great and I'm committing to every shot and I'm accepting everything. That's when I play my best golf,” he added. Having a hot putter also helps in that respect.
“It’s about time,” he said, smiling. “That thing’s been cold for a while. I've done some great work in the last week. I feel like I've got a path on my long game and didn't have a path on my putting. Didn't have checkpoints or nothing. This week we finally found it and what we are doing is working,”
McIlroy was relieved that a decision to take on a risky shot from on top of rocks bordering water at the par-3 17th didn’t backfire as he emerged with a one-shot lead over England’s Sam Horsfield.
“I'm excited,” he said of the final round. “I'm right where I want to be. I want to be contending on Sundays in golf tournaments, and feel like I'm back to playing the way I should.”
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