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Robert MacIntyre says he is excited to test his game against world No.1 Dustin Johnson on Thursday after seeing off Kevin Na in his opening match of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The 24-year-old Scot defeated five-time PGA Tour winner Na 2&1 in a hugely entertaining match at Austin Country Club in Texas.
Na birdied the opening hole to take an immediate lead, only for MacIntyre to peg him back with a birdie of his own at the second. It remained level-pegging between the two until Na again edged in front at the par-5 12th. Again, MacIntyre responded straight away with a two at the par-3 13th.
Another birdie at the 14th put him up for the first time in the match and he extended his advantage to two-up at the 16th. When Na was unable to claim the 17th, the match was over, handing MacIntyre some much-needed momentum after a slow start to his American adventure.
“it’s huge for confidence,” said the Oban man. “I’ve played the last three weeks, and the three weeks I’ve played, I’ve not played well. We worked hard the last week at Sawgrass. We stayed there for a week, and we put in a lot of good work, and we came here and we did the exact same. We’ve played a lot of holes already this week just to get comfortable with what we’re working on.
“Today it showed that I’m really starting to trust what I’m doing and I’m starting to see shots and hitting the shots that I’m trying to hit. That’s huge when you’re trying to play matchplay and trust what you’re doing, and even if you get behind, you’ve got to keep trusting it. I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”
MacIntyre added that his tussle with Na was “one of the best matches I’ve been involved in”.
“It was one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I’ve ever had in my life, just with the way I played, the way I won it, and having Mike on the bag – everything was great today. It was just one of those days.”
Reigning Masters champion Johnson was a two-up winner over fellow American Adam Long in his first match of the championship – and he’s expecting another tough battle when he goes toe-to-toe with MacIntyre.
“I know he’s a good player,” said Johnson. “I don’t know him that well, but it’ll be a good match.”
MacIntyre and Johnson are scheduled to tee off at 7.32pm on Thursday.
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