'Green light' for Bob MacIntyre's new mental grading system on good day for Scots in Japan
On a productive day for the Scots at PGM Ishioka Golf Club in Omitama, MacIntyre joined Scott Jamieson and David Law in signing for four-under-par 66s to sit just three off the lead, held by England’s Andy Sullivan and Kim Yeongsu from South Korea.
Calum Hill, who finished with four straight birdies for a 67, is also handily-placed while Grant Forrest carded a 68, with Richie Ramsay the only player among the Caledonian contingent to feel disappointed after having to settle for a 72.
In his first outing since the Magical Kenya Open five weeks ago, MacIntyre is trying out a plan put in place by his backroom team to try and help him get feeling “hot” about a bad hole out of his system as quickly as possible.
“It was good,” said the Italian Open of what he’s describing as a new mental grading system. “All green lights, all positive. I had that in the back of my mind, it was a conscious effort, if I hit a bad shot, don’t let it affect the next one. It was a good result.
“I’m very calm, I’m enjoying it out there. It’s easier when you can accept the bogeys and the bad shots. It makes life so much easier. Mike is probably the least stressed he has been all year.”
MacIntyre, who signed for seven birdies, played down two separate areas of strapping on his left arm. “We’re all good, nothing some painkillers and a bit of strapping can’t sort,” he said of that and there was certainly nothing to indicate it was a problem.
“I played great,” added the 26-year-old. “I just hit two poor 8-irons for a couple of my dropped shots, but happy after five weeks out to get to four under." This effort came after putting lighter wedges in his bag. “The distance control has been far better,” he said of that decision. “I feel like around this place if I can drive it as well as I can, I am left with a lot of wedges. Hopefully a good few days coming up.
“Tomorrow it will just be the same, prepare the right way and accept what comes. I’m driving it well, putter feels good in my hands, just got to keep giving myself chances and hopefully the ball keeps going in the hole.”
Jamieson signed for six birdies, including three in a row on his front nine, while Law carded five birdies to also have the leaders in their sights in the first leg of a DP World Tour double-header in the Far East.
Forrest, who has started the 2023 calendar campaign by making six cuts on the bounce, opened with nine straight pars before mixing three birdies, including 2 at 17th from three feet, with one bogey coming home.
“It was really scoreable out there, so it was quite frustrating on the front nine,” he said. “I was pretty good off the tee, but just didn’t hit it close enough. Didn’t have my best stuff but, all in all, it’s not a disaster.”
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