Robert MacIntyre bounced back from a three-over 73 in round one with a three-under 67 on day two to muscle his way into the weekend on his US PGA Championship debut.
Starting on the tenth hole, the 24-year-old European Tour ‘Rookie of the Year’ made the perfect start to his second round at TPC Harding Park, birdieing his first hole. He handed that back with a disappointing bogey-five two holes later but picked up shots at the 16th and 18th to turn in two-under.
The Oban man holed a 20-footer for birdie at the third to get to three-under and parred his way home, including a gutsy up-and-down at the last, to make it two cuts made from his two major starts.
“I thought one-over would get in but coming up the last there, the ninth, I saw that it wasn't in yet,” said MacIntyre. “So it was nice to get up-and-down at the last to pretty much secure the cut.”
Under the circumstances, a 73 on day one wasn’t a bad result, with the Scot going out in the worst of the conditions on Thursday afternoon.
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“Yesterday afternoon, the weather was as hard as I've played in with the condition of the golf course,” he added. “If you missed a fairway, you were chipping out, and I couldn't find a lie until the final hole today. I finally found a lie that I could get up near the green.”
Whilst this is only MacIntyre’s second major start, the Glencruitten man does have plenty of experience of playing on US golf course set-ups, having attended university in Louisiana. He also represented Great Britain & Ireland at Los Angeles Country Club in 2017 and made two US Amateur appearances at Riviera and Bellerive.
“I know this style of course,” he said. “The style of golf suits my game. I hit it high, normally straight off the tee. I don't normally hit many wide ones, and this week I feel like the wider you are the better you are the way the rough is. If you're close to the cart path you're going to have a shot. But if you're just off the fairway, which I seem to be doing this week, then you're hacking out.
“But I feel like it suits my game tee-to-green.”
Having only made one start since professional golf resumed from its COVID-19 hiatus before this week, MacIntyre has seen his world ranking slip to 81st. No surprise, then, that his immediate priority is to get into the top-50. After that, the world is his oyster – and he knows it.
“I'm fully focused on just trying to get top-50 in the world, whether that's getting invites on the PGA TOUR or back playing in Europe, but I don't know where I stand just now. I'm in that bubble of just outside it.
“Once I get in the top-50 in the world then I'll play out here as well as back home in Europe. It's the place you've got to play, the best players in the world are out here, so if you manage to get in that position, you've got to take it.”