Bob MacIntyre bounced back brilliantly from two successive missed cuts to make a strong start in the Porsche European Open in Germany.
The young Scot, who is enjoying a fantastic rookie season on the European Tour, sits two shots behind pacesetter Paul Casey after opening with a four-under-par 68 in Hamburg.
MacIntyre, who sits 15th in the Race to Dubai, carded six birdies, including one at his last hole. The 23-year-old from Oban has already produced back-to-back runners-up finishes and a tie for sixth in the Open at Royal Portrush, but he has his sights set on more success.
“I’m pushing to try to get into the WGC event [in China in November] and I think I might have secured the final three [European Tour events] already,” said the left-hander.
“And, if you do well in those, then that opens bigger doors so it’s just about taking it step by step, week by week and see where we end up.”
Ryder Cup star Casey overcame illness and tough conditions to claim the lead, carding seven birdies and a single bogey in his opening salvo at the Green Eagle Golf Course, where the 7,500-yard layout is playing even tougher than usual due to high winds.
The Englishman revealed he has been struggling with a sore throat for several days, saying: “I’m not great, but it is what it is. Maybe beware of the sick golfer.”
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed had to birdie the last three holes to shoot a 74, while world No 9 Xander Schauffele was one shot better off despite dropping three shots in his last eight holes.