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No sooner had he broken Robert MacIntyre’s heart, Rory McIlroy was backing the young Scot to make this year’s Ryder Cup team.

Four-time major champ McIlroy birdied his final two holes to win the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance.

In doing so, he denied MacIntyre victory on home soil, pipping him by one shot after the Oban man had carded a stunning 64 in brutally tough conditions on the East Lothian coast.

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Victory would have done a number of things for MacIntyre. It would have earned him a maiden PGA Tour title, earned him the biggest cheque of his career, propelled him to a career high world ranking, and moved him to second on the Race To Dubai standings.

It would also have all-but-guaranteed him a Ryder Cup debut in Rome this September, coincidentally the scene of his Italian Open victory last year.

His solo second finish did move the Scot into the automatic qualification spots for the side but, with only six players making the side on points, he still has work to do to either qualify on merit or convince captain Luke Donald that he is worthy of one of his six picks.

As far as McIlroy is concerned, the 26-year-old would be a welcome addition to the line-up.

“If Bob can shoot 64 on a day like today, he can do anything,” said the world No.2. “I mean, that was an unbelievable round and it’s great to see him back in form, as well.

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“He had the win in Rome last year, and then he went off a little bit, but it’s nice to see him back at an important point of the year when he’s looking to try to make that Ryder Cup.”

The seal of approval from McIlroy will surely soften the blow for MacIntyre who was bidding to become only the second Scot ever to win the Scottish Open.

Afterwards, he described how he struggled to contain his emotions after leaving the 18th green to a thunderous ovation.

“I’ll never forget it,” said the two-time DP World Tour winner. “I mean, that’s why I play this sport. That’s why I’m in The Scottish Open, and if not The Open, The Scottish Open will be up there with the event I want to play for the rest of my life.

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“It’s one I’ve dreamed of winning since I watched at home, and today, once I birdied 18, I thought, this might be the one.

“But it’s not to be just now, and there are plenty of years ahead.”

He added: “Rory McIlroy’s potentially the best player in the world, and he showed why today. I take my hat off to him.

“I’m just looking forward to next week. Just go out there and play golf the same way. There’s going to be a little expectation, a lot of talk from the media and stuff, but we’ll have fun.

author headshot

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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