Robert MacIntyre has admitted it would be ‘unbelievable’ to finish the season as the European Tour ‘Rookie of the Year’.
The 23-year-old from Oban is potentially just four rounds from becoming the 12th Scot, and the first since Marc Warren in 2006, to land the honour after his seventh top-10 finish of the season.
He battled back from carding 76 in Friday’s second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge – his highest score since the second round of the Trophée Hassan II in April, 58 rounds earlier – to card weekend rounds of 65 and 68.
That saw him finish in a tie for eighth at the Gary Player Country Club and leapfrog American Kurt Kitayama in the ‘Rookie of the Year’ race.
Heading into this week’s final event of the season, the DP World Tour Championship, MacIntyre is ranked 11th on the Race to Dubai with Kitayama, twice a winner this season, in 12th.
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After wrapping up in South Africa, the Scot said: “Overall, I’m delighted with the way I finished. After Friday, I thought ‘oh no’ but I worked on a few things on the range on Friday and they seem to be working.
“Winning ‘Rookie of the Year’ would mean everything. That's what you play golf for, for the rewards, and the reward of winning ‘Rookie of the Year’ I think would be unbelievable. “But I have another week to go. My game is turning around from Friday, so we're in good shape heading into next week.”
MacIntyre could also set a new record for the best ranking achieved by a Scottish player in their rookie season on the European Tour.
That record currently belongs to the late Gordon Brand Jnr, who finished seventh on the OOM at the end of his debut season in 1982.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger continues to lead the way at the top of the rankings, ahead of Nedbank winner Tommy Fleetwood.