MacIntyre starting to feel like one of the boys as he gives good account of himself on European Tour - and credits coach for performance boost
Last week it was Justin Rose. This week it’s Patrick Reed. In two weeks’ time it could be Rory McIlroy. That’s the sort of company Bob MacIntyre is keeping these days as he enjoys a memorable rookie season on the European Tour and the Scot is starting to feel comfortable as one of the circuit’s new young stars.
“It is a dream run,” said the 23-year-old, who gave a good account himself in his World Golf Championship debut with a top-20 finish in last week’s HSBC Champions in China and is now set to finish the current campaign by teeing up in three successive Rolex Series events, starting this week in the Turkish Airlines Open.
“But it’s getting to the point where it’s feeling normal, this is the level I’m playing at now. That’s how you have to look at it and try to play to that level every week. I feel I’m doing a decent job of maintaining my level of performance. Rather than it dipping and going up and down, it’s been pretty consistent.”
MacIntyre, one of four Scots in the field at Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek, sits ninth in the Race to Dubai, having been jumped by both Rory McIlroy and Louis Oosthuizen as they finished first and respectively in the final WGC of the season in Shanghai last Sunday. The three events to finish carry a combined prize pot of $22.5 million and MacIntyre is looking upwards rather than over his shoulder.
“There are no cuts these next few weeks, so you can just go for it,” he said.
“I’ll be aggressive this week. There’s nothing to lose. I want to get into the top five of the Race to Dubai. I’ve got three events to do that, so I don’t see why I can’t do it.
“Last week the first tee nerves were bigger than normal as I’d had two weeks off and had barely picked up a club. But, once I got going, I was fine. There’s only so good you can get at a game. If you play board games, there’s only so good you can get. And that’s how I look at my golf.”
The sole Scot in the field at Sheshan International, MacIntyre finished with an eagle in the HSBC Champions to secure a share of 17th spot. “It was great last week,” he said.
“It was another new experience for me on the tour, the first time I was in with the big boys properly. I didn’t play my best, I was a wee bit rusty after two weeks off, but it was a good way to finish.
“There were a couple of things that let me down, but that’s golf. If you play your best, you compete. I feel like my game is going to the next level now.
"It’s getting to a point where my poor stuff is still not too bad. And that’s important out here. I’m in a good place. Even this week, I’ve not been striking it that great, but the minute the event starts, the tournament head goes on. It’s like a little switch that goes on.”
MacIntyre, who was securing his step up to the main circuit from the Challenge Tour this week last year, is pleased to have his coach, Davy Burns, with him this week - and not just for his technical input.
“When Davy is here I always play well,” he declared. “The British Masters, The Open, Germany (European Open). I play my best when he’s here.
"It’s not just the fact that he’s coaching my golf, it’s at dinner, it’s the chat. We talk about anything rather than golf. He’s not just my golf coach, he turns into a psychologist. I love that. I love having people around. When it’s just me and my caddie, you can get bogged down in too much golf.”