The Oban man admitted he’d been in his element as a breeze on the Costa del Sol stiffened the test on one of the DP World Tour’s toughest venues in the opening round of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.
“It is brilliant,” declared MacIntyre after carding six birdies and two bogeys to open with a 67, one off the lead as a group of five players set the pace in the £2.6 million event.
“This is the closest thing we’ll get to Augusta (where the Scot has finished in the top 25 in his first two appearances in The Masters) and I love both courses and love having to hit shots.
“Sometimes you hit a fairway but are standing there with a tree in your way with the wind going in the opposite direction and you’ve just got to create something. For me, it’s more hands rather than body and I just love playing golf the way that this place makes you play golf.”
In his ninth round at the 1997 Ryder Cup venue, MacIntyre beat his previous best score by two shots to sit handily-placed along with compatriot Marc Warren after his bogey-free 68.
“Yeah, it was good,” said Italian Open champion MacIntyre of his afternoon effort. “Any score round Valderrama with a breeze is always a positive. I felt I left a few out there, but I am rolling it well, driving it well and hitting it well - my game is in good shape.”
Even Seve Ballesteros would have been proud of the Scot’s par save from a hanging lie on the left of the green at the par-3 15th.
“One of my problems is that I get too cute with it and try to be too perfect. Sometimes accepting 10-15 feet when you are in a difficult spot is okay,” said MacIntyre. “That one probably landed a bit further on than the landing spot I picked, but it was a good-bad one.”
Australian Min Woo Lee, the 2021 Scottish Open champion, shares the lead with England’s David Horsey, Dane Soren Kjeldsen, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Spaniard Pep Angles.