Bob MacIntyre: I can win Open. I just need to keep putting myself into a position to do so
Bob MacIntyre made one of the best starts by a Scot in the Open Championship in nearly 20 years then insisted he can keep himself in the mix on his major debut at Royal Portrush
The 22-year-old left-hander from Oban twice held the outright lead in the first round of the event’s 148th edition as he produced some sparkling golf on the County Antrim coast.
Illuminated by an eagle-2 from 40 feet at the fifth, he opened with a three-under-par 68 - 11 shots better than pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy - to end the day sitting just two shots off the lead in joint-third.
“I was taking memories from everything walking round,” admitted MacIntyre, the pride and joy of Glencruitten Golf Club, with a huge smile afterwards. “I just kept glancing at the leaderboards and thinking: ‘Can we win this?’”
Asked if he can, the 2015 Scottish Amateur champion, inset, replied with a tone of confidence rather than cockiness: “I think so. I just need to keep putting myself into a position to do so.
“Come Sunday on the back nine, if you’ve got that chance, that’s the way I play golf - I keep going at it.”
It was the best start in the game’s oldest major by a player flying the Saltire since Paul Lawrie sat joint-second after an opening 65 in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes, where, coincidentally, Colin Montgomerie was the last Scot to lead outright in the event at the end of the first day after he shot the same score in 2001. “It was a brilliant day all around and I enjoyed every bit of it,” added MacIntyre.
“This opportunity has come faster than I ever thought. I was expecting to have another year on the Challenge Tour. But life’s a rollercoaster - and we’ve just got to keep riding it.”