Continuing to impress on golf’s showpiece stages, the 25-year-old closed with a three-under-par 69 – one shot better than the middle two circuits on his debut 12 months ago – to finish on three-over in the season’s opening major.
It wasn’t good enough to secure an immediate return on this occasion, as he did last year when finishing in the top 12 and ties, but MacIntyre is determined to become a permanent part of the Masters furniture.
“I do,” he replied to being asked if he felt he now knows the course as well as he needs to. “I just need to get back here next year or whenever I get back here.
“I know the golf course. I know what it can do in the wind. I know what I can do when it’s calm. No, I don’t want to miss one of these. I feel I can compete out here at some point and it’s just a matter of getting back here and doing it.”
The left-hander has now made the cut in eight majors out of eight at the start of his career, including two top-10 finishes in The Open.
“A lot,” he admitted when asked often he’d thought about returning here 12 months, having flown the Saltire with 1988 winner Sandy Lyle for the second year in a row.
“When you play it once, you don’t want to miss it. This is the most special place I’ve ever been in my life. I’d say Oban is beautiful, but I’d say Augusta National beats it.”
MacIntyre’s closing circuit in the company of American Harold Varner III included a miraculous recovery from deep in the trees on the right of the second hole before seeing his ball almost come back to his feet after hitting timber at the 15th.
“It wasn’t hit with a clear head,” he said of somehow threading a 4-iron through a gap at the second to make the first of five birdies. “Mike [Thomson, his caddie] was wanting me to pitch it down the left and it was leaving me an 8 or 9-iron.
“I wasn’t too happy stepping on to the second tee (after an opening bogey) then hit that tee shot. It was one of those ones where I thought, ‘you know what, I’m just going to go through this gap’.
“I was praying that it didn’t hit the trees as it was a small gap. I committed to the shot and left myself the perfect angle for the pitch.”
Birdies also followed at the third, seventh, eighth and 14th before the 15th killed off his momentum.
“That was the only bad shot I hit all day – that was just a cardinal sin. I was worried about running it over the other side of the fairway and gave it a bit of height to try and land it softer.
“But, once I hit the tree with the 5-iron, I decided I’ve got to hit 4-iron. We’ve been working on trying to keep the head, keep a clear mind and just deal with what we are given and I thought I did a great job there.”