Robert MacIntyre recovered from a shaky patch in the middle of his round to keep his nose ahead of playing partner Kurt Kitayama in the battle to be European Tour ‘Rookie of the Year’.
The Glencruitten golfer was two-under at the turn in the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship only to double-bogey the tenth and drop a further shot at the 12th.
However, birdies at 14 and 15 got him into the clubhouse on one-under – the same score posted by playing partner Kitayama.
MacIntyre entered the week knowing that he has only to better Kitayama’s result to become the first Scot to win the ‘Rookie of the Year’ honour since Marc Warren in 2006.
The Oban man currently lies 11th on the Race To Dubai after a spectacular debut season, with American Kitayama – twice a winner this season – hot on his heels in 12th.
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Afterwards, MacIntyre revealed that he’s not allowing himself to get distracted by what Kitayama does.
“My job is to win my battle,” he said. “If I win every battle that I set myself, then the outcome will be irrelevant, and it will be what it will be. I can't control what he does. I can only control myself.
“I've set myself goals. I set goals and I battle through them. If I can do that, if I can achieve what I want to achieve this week.”
He added that there wasn’t too much in the way of conversation between he and his playing partner in the opening round.
“I wasn't in the right frame of mind after the start on the back nine,” he said. “Me and Greg [Milne, caddie] were having a little chat to ourselves most of the way around. I try and get the chat going but, a lot of the time, guys don't want to. You just get the hint that they are not wanting to talk.”
Frenchman Mike Lorenza-Vera leads the way at Jumeirah Golf Estates on nine-under.