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By his own admission, Robert MacIntyre’s major championship debut was “a dream come true”.

But just how special was the Oban 22-year-old’s performance at Royal Portrush?

The people at The 15th Club may have come up with the most compelling answer.

• Koepka blasts Holmes over slow play

• Shane-sational Lowry wins The Open

The golf data and analysis experts – an integral part of recent Ryder Cup teams – have gone digging through the archives and discovered that, by finishing in a tie for sixth in Northern Ireland, MacIntyre is the first player from Scotland to finish inside the top-10 on his Open debut since Andrew Kirkcaldy in 1879.

• RATED! The Post-Open Report Card is in!

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The Glencruitten rookie has also climbed to 102nd on the OWGR – up from 146th last week – whilst the €277,950 he banked for his week’s work has bounced him up to 14th on the Race To Dubai.

• Where are next year’s men’s majors taking place?

Could he become Scotland’s first European Tour ‘Rookie of the Year’ since Marc Warren in 2006? If he maintains this kind of form, he’ll be in with a helluva chance.

In an extraordinary coincidence, he also emulated the debut of a true Open legend on the same course sixty-eight years earlier, as former Australian golf professional Mike Clayton pointed out.

Thomson, of course, went on to win the championship five times.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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