Oban golfer sets new course record in first pro event

Robert MacIntyre watches his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of match play of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

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Jamie Elson won the inaugural Jordan’s Ayla Golf Championship in a tense play-off last Saturday, holing a four-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole to beat fellow Englishman Luke Joy in an exciting finish to the first professional golf event in the country.

However, Oban’s Robert MacIntyre, playing in his first professional tournament, fired a sizzling nine-under par 64 to set a new course record, eclipsing a 67 shot by Sweden’s Henric Sturehed in the second round to move into a four-way share for third on six-under after an action-packed day.

England’s Joe Heraty, who carded a bogey-free 68, Italy’s Rocco Sanjust (67) and Sturehed (73) joined MacIntyre in the group, four clear of the English duo Zane Scotland and Lee Corfield and Sweden’s Fredrik From.

MacIntyre, tied for 15th at the start, produced the round of the tournament to make his professional debut an event to remember.

‘I was far off from the field after a disappointing 78 in the opening round and had nothing to lose. I played more aggressively and that approach paid off,’ said the Glencruitten golfer, who eagled the final hole after hitting his nine-iron approach from 168 yards to within nine yards. I can take a lot of confidence out of the last two bogey-free rounds, a lot of positives,’ said the 21-year-old.

The MENA Tour now travels to Kuwait for the Sahara Kuwait Golf Championship to be held from October 16 to 18, the last event on this year’s schedule before the field whittles down for the 72-hole Tour Championship hosted by Al Zorah Golf Club in Ajman from October 23 to 26.

An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to the R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation, and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.

A guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour’s 2018 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (for the MENA Tour champion), multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Hassan II Trophy, Maybank Championship Malaysia, and the KLM Open, are some of the added incentives that await MENA Tour members, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the final stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.