Robert MacIntyre’s bold decision to start his professional career on the third-tier MENA Tour rather than try to secure a spot in the Dunhill Links has paid off for the left-hander, writes Martin Dempster.
In just his second start as a professional, the 21-year-old from Oban won the Sahara Kuwait Golf Championship, giving himself a huge boost heading into the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School next month.
A shot off the lead going into the final round, MacIntyre made seven birdies in a closing 65 for a 14-under-par total at Sahara Golf & Country Club in Kuwait City. He won by two shots from Englishman Luke Joy, with MacIntyre’s fellow Scot, Daniel Hendry, sharing third spot with three others.
“I’m absolutely delighted as it’s been a memorable week for me,” said MacIntyre, who shot a 78 on his pro debut in Jordan a fortnight ago but closed with a course-record 64 to finish third in that event and is now a combined 25 under par for his last five rounds.
“I holed putts when I needed to and that was the key to my success.”
MacIntyre is the fourth Scot to win on the MENA Tour after Paul Doherty, Clarke Lutton and David Law. “I played golf the way I used to as an amateur and never let the pressure of turning pro affect my game,” he added. “It was fun playing on the MENA Tour. The competition is great and so is the atmosphere and I look forward to playing more events next season.”
MacIntyre’s victory comes hot on the heels of both Connor Syme and Liam Johnston also getting their professional careers off to promising starts. Syme has finished in the top 15 in two recent European Tour events while Johnston, having made the cut in the Dunhill Links, won the ProGolf Tour in Germany last week.