Bob MacIntyre relishing 'huge opportunity' in first of three big events

Bob MacIntyre may not have mentioned the Masters by name, but there is no hiding the fact he has Georgia on his mind as he makes his first appearance as a European Tour winner this week.

Bob MacIntyre is making his first appearance on the European Tour this week since winning the Cyprus Showdown at Aphrodite Hills, near Paphos, earlier in the month. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The Cyprus Showdown champion, having claimed that title at Aphrodite Hills near Paphos earlier this month, is among six Scots teeing up in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, which starts at Leopard Creek on Thursday.

The tournament is the middle leg of a three-event South African Swing, but it’s only a one-week trip to the Rainbow Nation for MacIntyre on this occasion.

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He sat out last week’s Joburg Open and is also missing next week’s South African Open, opting instead to play in a new addition to the circuit, the Dubai Golf Championship.

That is being held on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates before the action switches to the Earth Course there the following week for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

Thanks to his breakthrough victory in Cyprus, which lifted him into the top 30 in the Race to Dubai, MacIntyre has already secured his spot in the 60-man field for the $8 million Rolex Series event.

That means the 24-year-old from Oban, who sits 63rd in the world rankings, has three big opportunities to climb into the top 50 in time for the first batch of 2021 Masters invitations being dished out at the end of the year.

“This week was just a great decision,” said MacIntyre, who is the second favourite behind 2017 winner Brandon Stone, of making the journey to a venue that shares its environment with the Kruger National Park.

“It’s a great golf course, and it’s just one of those weeks that you knuckle down and if you play well you’re going to be right in there.

“It’s also just to get back playing. I’ve got a lot to play for just now. This week was a huge opportunity, especially knowing the golf course. And the changes here have made it a lot tougher.”

MacIntyre was playing in just his fourth European Tour event when he tied for 15th behind American David Lipsky around two years ago, admitting it had been one of the performances that provided the springboard for his Rookie of the Year title triumph.

“The golf course is in great condition and I’m looking forward to it,” he added of flying the Saltire along with David Drysdale, Scott Jamieson, David Law, Connor Syme and Calum Hill. “I love this course. I love the wild nature of it. It’s a tough test of golf.

“That’s one of the reasons I travelled out here to play in this event. I’m also feeling great. The game has been in good shape for a wee while now and I finally got the clubs to start working for me.”

No Scot has landed this title, but it’s not just MacIntyre who will be quietly fancying their chances of getting in the mix.

Drysale finished second behind Lipksy in that event near the start of the 2019 campaign, with Jamieson third after he’d also tied for fourth behind Stone in the previous staging two years earlier.

In addition, Syme and Hill finished 11th and 13th respectively in last year’s tournament, won by Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal.

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