“That’s more like what I’m here for,” declared the young Scot of the Brabazon Course at The Belfry making him work for a one-under-par 71 in the opening circuit of the Betfred British Masters on his return to action after a short break.
MacIntyre, the highest-ranked player in the field at the Sutton Coldfield venue, was disappointed how he played the two par-5s on his front nine, running up a 6 at the 15th then failing to birdie the 17th from the middle of the fairway.
However, it was exactly the test the left-hander was looking for as he restarted his engine in preparation for next week’s US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, having kicked off the 2021 major campaign by tying for 12th as a first-timer in the Masters in April.
“You hit a bad shot you get punished, hit a good shot you get rewarded,” added MacIntyre of a course that is playing a bit longer than it normally would at 7,300 yards due to it being softened by heavy rain in the build up to the event. “You’ve really got to golf your ball.”
Playing with two-time major winner Martin Kaymer and Rasmus Hojgaard, winner of the UK Championship here last summer, the world No 45 signed for two birdies and one bogey.
“I putted great, but didn’t drive it great,” he said. “Also felt like there were a few slack irons, so delighted to walk off there with one-under-par.”
In his first outing since ending a hectic run of events in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head last month, it was no surprise to hear that he felt “ring rusty” while this was also the first outing for some new clubs.
“I found in the States I couldn’t stop the ball on firm greens, so I’ve got a whole new set of irons in the bag this week,” reported MacIntyre.
“We’re seeing a big improvement in the dispersion of distance. Sometimes I would hit a 9-iron and it would fly 175, when there was a bit of wind helping.
“Today they were going the numbers I expect them to go. I’m still trying to judge what the wind is trying to do, which is difficult.”
He was caught out by that as a great-looking approach at the 18th - his nine - went too long to leave him with a “horrible chip”, which executed in style to save par.
That partly made up for the disappointment of hitting his worst shot of the day at the previous hole - a “mis-hit” 6-iron into the 17th.
“I thought it was quite easy,” said MacIntyre of the conditions, having faced a testing wind in the morning wave. “I just didn’t take advantage of the par-5s early on.
“Okay, I was in the bunker (at the 15th) but hit a poor second shot then you shouldn’t be making par on a par-5 hitting a 6-iron (at the 17th).”