Bob MacIntyre fuelled by mum's cakes and desserts in strong PGA Championship start

Scot records his best score in PGA of America event as Xander Schauffele creates major history

Fuelled by cakes and desserts being served up by mum Carol, Bob MacIntyre got his teeth into Valhalla in the first round of the 106th PGA Championship. While pride of place on the opening morning in Louisville went to Xander Schauffele as the 2022 Genesis Scottish Open created history as the first player to sign for multiple 62s in majors, it was also a satisfying start for the sole Saltire standard bearer in the field.

In a blemish-free effort, MacIntyre signed for a five-under-par 66, having birdied the second, fourth, seventh, 11th and 12th holes at the Kentucky venue. It was his best effort in the PGA of America event, beating a 67 in the second round on his debut at Harding Park in 2020. “It was a solid round of golf,” observed MacIntyre. “I managed to stay disciplined, had better acceptance of the poorer shots and just managed it around a tough golf course really well today. Yeah, it was a decent score.”

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What had he done best in the round? “I did everything great, or good, to be honest, but I drove it well,” he added of an effort that was 16 shots better than one of his playing parners, 1991 winner John Daly, and left him sitting handily-placed in joint-fifth at the end of the opening circuit. “The tee shots, I didn't feel uncomfortable. I managed to pick a shot that I trusted, and I got comfortable to hit that shot. Then tried to bring it alive. Other than that, I was smart. Tee shots where I felt like I could give it some extra distance because it made the fairway wider, I let it have it. Other tee shots that felt a little bit tighter, I just knew I had to get the right shape for the hole to make the fairway as big as I could, and I got the right shape off the tee. Overall, it was just a solid, solid round of golf.”

Bob MacIntyre of Scotland looks on from the 18th tee during the first round of the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images.Bob MacIntyre of Scotland looks on from the 18th tee during the first round of the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Bob MacIntyre of Scotland looks on from the 18th tee during the first round of the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

This is the 27-year-old’s 13th major appearance, having suffered his sole missed cut in this event at Oak Hill 12 months ago following rounds of 76-76. He was disappointed to miss out on The Masters earlier this year before securing his spot in the season’s second major through playing in last year’s Ryder Cup then staying inside the world’s top 100 for the field’s final cut-off.

He’s found it tough so far this season as a PGA Tour card holder, having been among the ten players to secure that status through the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai last season, but it was more like it when he got himself in contention in last week’s Myrtle Beach Classic and, on this evidence, there’s definitely a spring back in his step.

“To be honest, I think it was spending some time back at home in Scotland,” he replied to being asked what had been the key to a welcome improvement in his form. “It's no secret I've been living in America. It's been tough. It's not like Oban. “When I go back home, it's a lot of friends and family you get to spend time with, my nieces, everyone that's close to me and really cares for me.

When I'm in America, it's just me and my girlfriend (Shannon Hartley) and we're trying to live as good a life as we can. But it's difficult when we're both so close to family and friends. Yeah, I got three weeks at home there and hardly touched the golf clubs, done some stupid stuff and just enjoyed myself.”

The left-hander recorded top-ten finishes in his first two starts in The Open and was on the brink of winning the Genesis Scottish Open last year until Rory McIlroy finished birdie-birdie. That effort helped MacIntyre secure his Ryder Cup debut in Rome, where he was unbeaten in three games and beat US Open champion Wyndham Clark in the last-day singles as Europe regained the trophy.

“I mean, today I had zero expectation,” he admitted in reply to it being suggested that he was a man for the big occasions. Referring to the fact he’s had a lot of late starts on the PGA Tour, he added: “It's nice to get off reasonably early in a golf tournament. And you get fresh greens; you've got no one to chase. You're going out there just trying to post a score as good as you can.

“Today obviously I got off to a nice start on a tough stretch of holes, and I just kept pushing and pushing, and Mike [Burrow], my caddie, did well in managing me well when I was out of position. It's not just a golf course that you can go straight at things. It's a golf course that you need to think about when you're out of position.”

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The two-time DP World Tour winner is one of the longer-hitters, but, on a rain-softened course, he’s even finding this course a brute. “I'm still shelling 4, 5, 6-irons into a lot of par-4s. They've stretched the golf course as long as they can. It's one of the longest golf courses I've ever played. Hopefully it's one of the longest I'll ever play. It's just a solid golf course. These guys are good.”

MacIntyre feels he’s in a “good frame of mind” after that recent visit home and talked last week about how a “happy Bob MacIntyre can be a dangerous Bob MacIntyre” on the golf course. Asked if he’d felt happy out on the course in this particular round, he said, smiling: “A hundred percent. I'm in a good mind frame coming off of the last few events. Obviously being at home was a massive help. Then I come out and play a team event with Thomas Detry. We have great fun, we score well.

“Went to Dallas, played all right. Long golf course, scoring was ridiculous. Then went to last week, played with Ryan Fox the first two rounds, having a laugh. Life was great. I've come this week. I've got my mum out. She's cooking and cleaning for my whole team. I'm having too many cakes and desserts this week. But we're having a good time.

“Look, when I can be around friends, family, people closest to me, people that actually care about me, they speak to me as Bob the human rather than Bob the golfer. I think that's when I'm at my happiest, when I'm not talking about golf, golf, golf. Life is actually more important than what I'm doing out here.”



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