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Robert MacIntyre secures Augusta return with gutsy birdie at the last hole

Oban golfer Robert MacIntyre.
Oban golfer Robert MacIntyre.

Robert MacIntyre enjoyed a week he will never forget in a superb Masters debut at Augusta.

The Oban golfer secured an invite back to next year’s tournament after coming tied 12th thanks to a gutsy birdie on the final hole as he finished two under after a closing round of 72.

The 24-year-old, who went into the final round sitting inside the top 10, made an ominous start when he dropped a shot at the opening hole when he couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker.

Worse was to follow on the short sixth when he three-putted from six feet for a double bogey.

He bunkered his approach on the seventh but managed to make par before fighting back with a two-putt birdie at the long eighth.

Another gain at the ninth was followed by a superb tee shot at the par-3 12th which was rewarded with another birdie to take him to two-under-par and back on the cusp of the top-10.

MacIntyre moved up to tied ninth after rolling in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 15th to jump to three under.

The momentum stalled at the short 16th when a wayward tee shot left a treacherous downhill putt and he missed the resulting par putt for six foot to drop back to two under and tied 13th.

He found the trees with his drive on the next on his way to a second bogey in a row but the left-hander from Glencruitten responded with a brilliant birdie at the last to finish the week two under par and earn a place in next year’s field.

He said: “I’m delighted.

“I have got to take the positives.

“I played great for my first year and tried to manage my way around a golf course I have only played on computer games before.

“It is completely different being here in the battle.

“I have learned that I can compete with the best guys in the world.

“Playing in Europe you aren’t seeing it every week but now I am here.

“If I had known this golf course more I could have been up there competing but I’m happy with the way I have played.”

Robert MacIntyre tees off on the fourth hole during the final round of the Masters.

The day, however, belonged to Hideki Matsuyama who became the first Japanese winner of The Masters after finishing 10 under to win by a stroke.

The 29-year-old survived a late scare when his second shot into the 15th found water beyond the green.

But he held his nerve to finish a shot ahead of American Will Zalatoris.

MacIntyre’s fellow Scot Martin Laird was left feeling frustrated after finishing with a 74 to end the tournament three-over-par.

The 38-year-old bemoaned his ability with the short stick during a tough week.

He said: “Right now I feel very frustrated.

“I hit it great again today, and I made no putts all week. I just really struggled on the greens a bit.

“My caddie said I left four or five shots just on the back nine today and a good four or five yesterday.

“Every round this week, I kind of felt like it’s the worst score I could have shot, and today definitely the case. “Looking back, I’ll be pleased with the week, just in terms of how I played tee to green.

“But as of right now when I knew, same as yesterday, it could have been a good round and make no putts, it’s a little frustrating.”

Laird, making his fourth appearance at Augusta, hopes he can get in contention if he can play his way back to Augusta next year.

He said: “I had an unbelievable week.

“Obviously, it’s a fantastic tournament and one you always want to play in. I’ve really enjoyed the week, even though right now I’m a little frustrated. Looking back, I’ll be very pleased with how I played.

“I really feel tee to green played well enough to be in the mix and just hopefully next time I’m back, I can figure out the greens and maybe see if I can get there.”

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