Robert MacIntyre will put his feet up this afternoon, after an opening round of level-par has him in solid shape at a windy Southern Hills.
Scotland’s top ranked male golfer was in the first group off the tenth tee this morning, with Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer for company. The left hander certainly made the most of the relatively calm early conditions, reaching two-under after four holes, which briefly had him in a tie for the lead.
Following his round, he acknowledged his strong record in major championships, where he has made the cut in all eight of his previous appearances.
“I feel like you get rewarded more if you hit good golf shots. If you hit a bad one you're going to get punished,” he said. “You just try not to make more than a bogey out there.
"Everyone is going to drop shots. That's my main thing in my head I can accept when I drop a shot in a major because everyone else is doing it, versus when you've got to shoot 25-under par to win a golf tournament; there's not many dropped shots that the top guys are going to do.”
Starting on the back nine, MacIntyre birdied his opening hole, and followed it up with another at the par-5, 13th. These two birdies, coupled with seven pars had MacIntyre blemish free at the turn, on a day when many struggled on the slopey greens of Southern Hills.
“We got nice weather to start with, not much wind, and I took advantage,” MacIntyre said.
“I didn’t really miss a shot on the front nine. Easy going. I probably should have been a couple more under.
“Then on the back nine it was a lot tougher than the front nine. A lot longer holes, a lot more crosswinds. But, overall, level-par, we’ll take it.”
The man from Oban reached the turn at two-under, before a bogey at the long par-4 first, his tenth, brought him back towards par. Another bogey at MacIntyre’s penultimate hole, the 251-yard par-3 eighth, had him pegged back to level-par.
However, the Scot made a gutsy seven-footer on the last to card a round of 70, a score MacIntyre was ultimately pleased with.
“Out there is absolutely brutal. If you're not striking your ball the way you want to strike it and having the right shot shapes, you're not going to do well. It's as simple as that.”
Looking forward to this years @PGAChampionship and the preps going well 👊— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) May 17, 2022
I’ve got another brilliant limited edition @TaylorMadeTour bag and head covers to give away
Retweet to be in with a chance and I’ll pick a winner on Monday #Awrabest 🏴 pic.twitter.com/6CRcLuIsHS
MacIntyre's strong start has him in a confident mood heading into the rest of the week, as he looks to better his previous best in the US PGA of a tie for 49th.
"Overall my game is right there, which is nice to see," he continued. "A bit disappointing not to come off under-par, but I holed a nice one on my last to hang on to level par, which is a bonus."
It looks like MacIntyre may once again get the best of the conditions tomorrow, with high winds forecast for the early starters on Friday's second round. He will get his second round underway at 1.30pm local time tomorrow.