Bob MacIntyre 'loving fight with Ryder Cup target on my back'
The Oban man headed into the weekend at Albatross Golf Resort in Prague knowing his position in the third spot on a European points list - Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have already secured qualification from that - was under threat from German Yannick Paul, Pole Adrian Meronk and Frenchman Victor Perez.
However, in a brilliant display of determination, MacIntyre signed off with a brace of bogey-free 66s to finish in a tie for fourth behind Todd Clements as the young Englishaman closed with a 63 to land his maiden DP World Tour triumph with a 22-under-par total.
“It was massive,” admitted MacIntyre of his closing salvo, which started with five straight pars before vital gains followed at the sixth, seventh, ninth, tenth, 12th and 18th, each of which was greeted by a first pump from the left-hander.
“I actually said to Greg [Milne, his caddie) on the first tee, ‘this is as nervous as I’ve been for a long time’. There’s just so much riding on it and it would be a dream to play in the Ryder Cup. I know I’m in a great position. I know I have a target on my back, but I just love a fight and that’s what I’ve got to do just now.”
Heading into the final qualifying event – the Omega European Masters, which starts on Thursday at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland - MacIntyre now leads Paul by just over 126 points, with Meronk around 80 points further back then Edinburgh-based Perez trailing the Scot by approximately 250 points.
“This week, I didn’t play great the first three days, but today I was in full control of the golf ball,” added MacIntyre. “I didn’t get off to a great start today, making too many pars early on, but Greg kept saying to me, ‘look, every hole here is a birdie chance’ if we get it off the tee well and today I felt I drove it well apart from 17.
“There were so many chances and I am rolling the putter absolutely perfect just now and that’s what you need to do when you are trying to keep ahead.”
His closing birdie meant MacIntyre pipped both Paul and Perez by a shot after they both signed off with 67s. “That was massive,” he admitted. “Next week, I’ve never played great there, but I’ve got a lot more fight and am a better player than the last time I was there.
“We are doing a lot of good work with Shanksy [coach Simon Shanks] and Stuart [Morgan, his performance coach] and the team back home and next week is a new week. Take a rest tomorrow then back at the graft on Tuesday.”
Clements, a graduate from the Challenge Tour last season, had just 24 putts in his sensational closing effort to finish a shot ahead of compatriot Matt Wallace, with Dane Nicolai Hojgaard joining MacIntye in boosting his Ryder Cup credentials by finishing third.
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