Robert MacIntyre booked his place in the 150th Open at St Andrews and can barely wait to play the greatest championship in front of his home fans.
The 24-year-old left-hander went back into the World’s Top 50 with his second top-ten finish in the Open in two attempts. He was tied eighth at Royal St George’s and tied sixth two years ago at Royal Portrush.
But securing the exemption for St Andrews means he’ll experience a home Open at last.
‘You’re not going to beat that’
— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) July 18, 2021
“The crowds were brilliant in Ireland, they were brilliant this week at Sandwich,” he said. “But to be a Scotsman competing in an Open in Scotland, you’re not going to beat that.
“The Scottish Open at The Renaissance was brilliant with 10,000 fans. There’s going to be five times that number at St Andrews.
“It’s going to be special, and now I know I’m going to be there. So it’s going to be one to remember.
“Playing in an Open at St Andrews has always been a dream of mine. Hopefully I can perform there. Who knows, that might be the place where I can win one of these?
“And it’ll be Bob’s Army marching around the Old Course. I’m sure they’ll all be there.”
‘It’s a dream for any kid’
IS IT TO BE?….🤔
He was already top Scot 😊but is he to be top Brit? 🇬🇧
A brilliant last round 67 (-3) and he's currently -7 total and tied 7th 🥊💥
— Bounce (@bouncespmgt) July 18, 2021
He’s been behind the ropes at many Opens, and always went to see the best players in the world.
“The most recent one in Scotland was Troon (in 2016). I finished the Amateur, then went straight up and saw one practice day, then Thursday and Friday.
“It’s a dream for any kid. Ask the lads who were competing at the Scottish Boys Championship this week at Brunstfield, what would you do if in four years’ time you’re competing in an Open?
“I bet they would be over the moon because it’s every kid’s dream. And I do remember the roars when Monty or some of the other Scottish players were doing well.
“It’s completely different when it’s in Scotland, so special to watch. But it’s going to be even better being in it.
“I had goosebumps on the 18th green on Saturday and Sunday this week. Seeing it for other people is cool. But it happening to you is even more special.”
‘You can’t buy the experience I’ve had’
Only 3 are under contract (Collin, DJ and MacIntyre). pic.twitter.com/Xfcko6JQ1z
— Ryan Lauder (@RyanLauder66) July 18, 2021
In the interim, MacIntyre feels at home now in major championships after making the cut at all four this year. Now he wants to start contending.
“The majors this year have been really good,” he said. “I’ve made every cut in them, which is always positive. You can’t buy the experience I’ve had in these majors.
“But my next step to compete and really fight for one of them on a Sunday. There’s plenty of time for me to do that.
“The next step in my career is to be going out in the final two or three groups of a major or a WGC.
“I probably need to work a bit smarter, maybe a bit harder on certain things.
‘But what I’m doing, what the people around me are doing, it’s all the right things. It’s showing in my performances. And the best thing is I’ve got plenty of time.”
Goals galore for the rest of 2021
The rounds of 65 and 67 over the weekend at Sandwich – after he made the cut on the mark on Friday night – show just what MacIntyre is capable of the rest of this season.
That includes trying to get a PGA Tour card – he flies to Minnesota for the 3M Open and will play the WGC in Memphis two weeks later.
Then there’s Ryder Cup qualifying and he needs to impress skipper Padraig Harrington all the way up to the wildcard selections after the BMW PGA Championship.
“I really just need to get the putter going early,” he said. “It felt like I didn’t putt well over the first two days at Sandwich. I didn’t putt badly but I gave myself chances without taking them.
“But I played and putted beautifully over the last two rounds, so there’s not much missing. It’s all fine margins now. We’ll get there.
“Looking at everything that’s coming up in the near future, there is a lot going on this year.
‘I’m doing the right things to give myself a chance.”