Euan McIntosh set for a return to big time

Euan McIntosh was part of the Lothians team

Euan McIntosh was part of the Lothians team

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Euan McIntosh, the newly-crowned Scottish Order of Merit winner, has earned the chance to test himself at the top of the tree in amateur golf next season.

The Turnhouse star’s weekend win in the South East District Open at Royal Musselburgh has seen him make another big jump up the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

A week after climbing 515 spots to 352nd, he’s now leapt 228 spots to 124th, which means some doors will now open for the 47-year-old in the 2017 campaign.

“The world rankings will get me into all the big amateur events next year, something that I couldn’t do this season,” said McIntosh, who concentrated instead on Scottish Order of Merit tournaments for his comeback campaign after being reinstated to the amateur ranks.

“I would have played in events like the Amateur Championship and St Andrews Links Trophy but maybe it wasn’t a bad thing because my game probably wasn’t ready to compete at that level.”

With his competitive juices having been well and truly stirred, though, he now can’t wait to see if he’s regained enough of the old magic to make his presence felt on the biggest stages in the amateur game before trying to qualify for the European Senior Tour.

“The Senior Tour is the main aim,” admitted McIntosh of becoming eligible for that when he turns 50. “When I decided to make a comeback, I gave myself three years, which I felt was enough time to see where my game was at.

“I’ve still got so much work to do, including a couple of big swing changes over the winter, to try and improve but I am getting there slowly.”

While delighted to celebrate his Order of Merit title triumph with a runaway eight-shot victory at Royal Musselburgh, it didn’t top earning a Scotland recall for the Home Internationals at Nairn last month after a 27-year gap.

“The highlight of my season, no question about it, was playing for Scotland and the absolute low point – in my whole career as well – was how I played up there,” revealed McIntosh.

“I feel I let the guys down. We had a brilliant team spirit and (national coach) Ian Rae showed a lot of faith in me by picking me every day.

“My swing was in tatters after we’d played in a 60mph wind at Leven and no matter how many balls I hit I just couldn’t get it back.

“I was absolutely devastated when I left there, but it was tremendous getting the cap. I want to try and stay in the team next year and win things.”

McIntosh will be trying to help Lothians win the Scottish Area Team title at Dalmahoy this weekend before pulling on his Turnhouse colours on Sunday week for the Edinburgh Summer League final against Longniddry at Newbattle.

“The Summer League final is huge – absolutely massive,” he admitted. “I’ve probably been as nervous playing in these matches than most of the tournaments I’ve played all year because I would dearly love to see Turnhouse win the title for the first time. We are right up for it, that’s for sure.”