‘So many positives’ for Bob MacIntyre in toughest test so far in The Masters

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In a strong westerly wind, the Oban man carded a one-over-par 73, one less than his first-round effort 12 months ago, when he went on to tie for 12th on his debut at the Georgia venue.

The effort left MacIntyre sitting joint-32nd as he bids to make it eight cuts out of eight in majors, an impressive run that includes two top-10 finishes in The Open.

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“I actually felt I only hit two bad shots today – the tee shot off nine and second shot on 18,” he said afterwards.

Bob MacIntyre and caddy Mikey Thomson follow his second shot on the 13th hole during the first round of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images.

The 25-year-old saved pair from deep in the trees on the right at the ninth but was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the last.

Out in one-under after a birdie at the par-5 second, he started bogey-double bogey on the inward journey before repairing some of that damage with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th.

“On 11, we were right between clubs – a 5 and 6,” he admitted of coming a cropper there. “The wind was gusty and we were going to cut a little 5 in there, but that’s when I don’t commit. I decided to hit a hard 6 and I flushed it.

“But the wind caught it right at the end, although I thought it might hang on. If I’d hit the 5-iron on the same line, it would probably have been 10 feet from the hole.”

Playing with 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel and St Andrews-based Amateur champion Laird Shepherd, MacIntyre was particularly pleased about how he’d plotted his way around the course.

“Overall, I feel I have missed it in the perfect spots,” he said. “The main thing when you are driving the ball well is that you can err on caution and I think that’s the only way you can play this golf course. You just can’t go gung ho as it will kill you if you do.

“Round here that’s the toughest test I’ve had. It was a good way to fight back and I was in there seeing the scores and it’s obviously as tough as I thought it was.”

Does he need to change anything for the second circuit, when he’s among the early starters?

“Nothing at all,” I have declared. The big thing is not playing yourself out of his one of him and I’ve not done that.

“The bogey on 18 was a sore one, but I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. I didn’t mishit an iron shot, the strike was there and for a while last year I wasn’t striking them.

“But for the last six tournaments I am really starting to strike the irons and when I do that, I can control my golf ball.

“It shows. When there are little gaps in trees, you can do whatever you want with a golf ball and that’s what Augusta requires.”

MacIntyre had dad Dougie, the greenkeeper at Glencruitten in Oban, caddying for him the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday.

“It was nerve-wracking for him, but that’s the most special thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he declared. Whatever happens in my golf career, I got to do something that very few people get to do.

“My dad got to hit a shot at Augusta National. It didn’t go to plan, but he made contact and struck it solid and that’s all we can ask for.”

After making a great up and down to save par at the first, Shepherd signed for a nine-over 81, one less than 1988 winner Sandy Lyle, who is the last off 90 competitors after Paul Casey with drawn before teeing off due to back spasms.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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