MacIntyre’s memorable Open debut

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Oban’s Robert Macintyre enjoyed an unforgettable week in his maiden appearance in The Open Championship.

The 22-year-old secured a top-10 after sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole in front of a packed grandstand at Royal Portrush.

Speaking after his final round, he said: ‘It was brilliant. Me and Greg [his caddie] just had to enjoy it. You never know how many of these you’re going to get but for the first one it’s been a dream come true.’

In brutal conditions, a closing 68 catapulted Macintyre into a tie for sixth place and the youngster was pleased with his day’s work, saying: ‘Again, I actually didn’t putt great, but I missed it in the right spots. It’s the first time today that we’ve played the golf course the way it’s supposed to play. I stuck to my guns, did everything right and although a few putts just slid by, I’m happy with that one at the end.’

‘The highlight of the week has to be holing that putt on 18 there. It got the hairs standing on the back of my neck when that putt went in. Those moments are what you play the game for,’ he added.

The result, which is the first top-10 for a Scotsman in The Open since Colin Montgomerie in 2005, meant the rookie left Northern Ireland with £250,000 and a place in the field for next year’s championship at Royal St George’s.

However, the event was not without drama for the Oban man after an incident on the Friday with playing partner Kyle Stanley left the young Scot seething.

On the 17th hole, Stanley’s wayward tee shot hit Macintyre’s caddie Greg Milne’s mum without the traditional warning of ‘fore’ from the 31-year-old American.

‘I wasn’t happy with what happened on 17. We’re shouting “fore” as the ball is coming into the crowd and he’s just standing watching it. People don’t have enough time to react and it hit Greg’s mum,’ said Macintyre.

Although she wasn’t hurt, Macintyre confronted his fellow professional over his conduct.

‘I said I wasn’t happy, and he didn’t take it well at all. He’s the only one I’ve seen do it. From the word go it was going into the crowd. Just shout, simple as that.’

The incident attracted plenty of attention, but the 22-year-old refused to let this overshadow his stellar achievements at Portrush.

He said: ‘It doesn’t matter what you say or what you do, you’re going to get negative feedback. But I’m proud of the way I handled the whole week from my preparation all the way through to the last putt. It was a great experience and it was special for Greg as well.’

Next up for Macintyre is some well-deserved time off and a chance to spend time with family and friends and return to his normal home routine. That means back to shinty training on Tuesday nights with Oban Celtic Shinty Club.

‘I’ve got three weeks off now so I’m going to relax for the first week and enjoy this one with everyone. Then I’m scheduled for some shinty training so I’m sure I’ll be there because I go every week when I’m home.

“It gives me that peace of mind that I’m away from absolutely everything out there and I’m just with pals. It also gives me fitness and I’ve actually lost a bit of weight since I started doing it again.

‘My dad takes the training and I just enjoy it. It’s not dangerous at all when you’re with pals and you know what’s going on. So far so good so I’ll keep doing it.’