Bob MacIntyre storms into British Masters mix after thinking he'd be heading home for shinty match

Bob MacIntyre had a shinty game in Glasgow on his mind before finding the spark he’d been looking for in the Betfred British Masters and duly reeled off five birdies in the last six holes in the second circuit at The Belfry.

It would have been six on the spin but for missing a short putt at the par-5 17th, though the Oban man was quick to acknowledge that he’d got lucky with his closing birdie at the iconic 18th at the four-time Ryder Cup venue.

MacIntyre slumped over his driver after over-cutting the tee shot thinking it was heading for the water, but, to his relief, a marshall raised his green flag to signal that it had just clung on.

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Making the most of that break, the left-hander went straight at the flag with his second and judged a tricky 15-foot downhiller to perfection for his seventh birdie of the day.

Bob MacIntyre plays his second shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at The Belfry. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

He’d been two shots outside the cut standing on the 13th tee, but, after signing for a 67 to move to three-under, the Scottish No 1 is sitting tied for 19th and just six shots off the lead heading into the weekend.

“What was going through my head when I was back to two-over was ‘I’m playing shinty tomorrow in Glasgow and it was only a four-hour drive,” said MacIntyre, smiling, afterwards.

Playing in one of the marquee groups with Lee Westwood and Adri Arnaus, MacIntyre had made the start he’d been looking for following a first-round 74 by picking up shots at both the second and third.

But, as his mood darkened a few holes later, he slammed a club into the turf in frustration as those gains were given back through bogeys at the fifth and sixth. “I was free-flowing early on and then I wobbled,” he admitted.

Not for the first time in his career, he started to fire on all cylinders when his back was against the wall. “I felt I played great. I just hadn’t holed a putt and then ‘bang’, one goes in and the floodgates opened,” he added.

“It was a case of I can’t do anything but go at it. That’s when I play my best golf and we are trying to get that from the start rather later on.”

A lengthy debrief with coach David Burns, performance manager Stuart Morgan, caddie Mike Thomson and manager Iain Stoddart had taken place following his frustrating first-day effort.

“We had a big discussion,” said MacIntyre. “It’s about having that feeling that I had on the last few holes. I need to trust Dave, trust Stuart for the performance stuff. Get to the point where you play carefree.”

In addition to MacIntyre and Richie Ramsay, who sits one shot off the lead, Connor Syme was the only other Scot out of a 12-strong contingent to make the cut. It was job done for Syme thanks to a 68 that left him one behind MacIntyre on two-under.

"It was good day’s work,” said Syme, who had missed two cuts in Spain after taking a month-long break, which saw him catch Covid. “Buzzing with that as you have to play proper golf here. Having missed the last two cuts, I didn't want to make three in a row.”

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