Robert MacIntyre has revealed how missing out on winning The Amateur Championship drove him on to fulfilling his goal of playing in The Open.
The young Scotsman is enjoying a promising professional career, sitting inside the top 70 of the world standings after a string of impressive performances since turning professional in 2017.
A year earlier MacIntyre almost highlighted his time in the amateur ranks at Royal Porthcawl, narrowly losing out 2&1 to England’s Scott Gregory in the Final of The Amateur.
The left-hander missed out on making his Open debut at Royal Troon in 2016, but his hunger to reach golf’s original major paid off when he qualified for The 148th Open Royal Portrush last summer and went on to secure a tie for sixth place over the Dunluce Links in only his first appearance.
Looking back at his three appearances in The Amateur and enjoyable times with his family at the event, he admits the experiences simply fuelled his desire to reach The Open one day.
Speaking to The Open Conversation podcast, MacIntyre said, “I think I played The Amateur three times and got to the last-16 time every time, minimum. My first was at Carnoustie (2015), and I got knocked out by a good pal, Jack McDonald, in the last-16. That was a hard one as it’s always tough when you play your pals.
“The next year was Porthcawl. I had old Angus on the bag with the worst beard in the world! Now he has got rid of it because he has seen the videos. That whole week I had my mum down, she was doing the cooking and washing, as she does at home! Everything that week was chilled out, nice and relaxed, and it showed in my golf, we just kept going.
“Obviously, when you get to the final everything is on the line, as it’s not just you trying to win The Amateur – it’s a place in The Open, the US Open and the Masters. Obviously, to lose in the final to Scott, who just outplayed me on the day, was sore, really sore, but you live with it and you move on.
“Missing out, it made me hungrier to reach The Open. You get on to the European Tour and you have a chance of making it if you play well. Luckily, I did, and I made it to Portrush.”
MacIntyre looks back fondly at the commitment of his family to support him for the final in Wales, with his dad leaving the family home in Oban in the west of Scotland at 5pm for a long drive overnight to arrive in time for the 36-hole showdown early the next morning.
The 23-year-old, who also represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club later that year and enjoyed a notable singles win over Cameron Champ, added, “Yeah, my dad made the long journey to support me in The Amateur final.
“I think I was two up with two to play against Paul McBride in the semi-final and I think he actually jumped in the car and thought ‘oh well, this should be done’. He looked at it about 40 minutes later when they were halfway to Glasgow and I had gone to extra holes. Luckily, I managed to sneak the win! It would have been a sore one if I hadn’t!
“Each year of The Amateur was great. All you are thinking about when you start the week is winning it, you are not really thinking about each match. You are thinking about trying to win it and all the opportunities that come with it, but there is only man that walks away at the end of the week happy.”
MacIntyre also exited at the last-16 stage of The Amateur at Royal St George’s in 2017, the venue for The Open next year. The Scottish No. 1 will hope to shine again, having thrilled the Irish crowds at Royal Portrush on his first major appearance.
He recalls, “To get to Portrush was amazing, pitching up and seeing everything done to such a high standard at The Open. I hadn’t seen the new holes, but I knew the course having played it as an amateur in the Home Internationals. I liked the course and if I had my golf game with me that week then I knew I was going to be alright.”
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