Bob MacIntyre says it was 'another day at office' in Scottish Open spotlight
But, according to the Oban man, it felt just like “another day in the office” when he found himself back in the spotlight at The Renaissance Club in the latest edition with Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood.
In front of one of the biggest crowds on the opening day of the $9 million Rolex Series event, MacIntyre carded a three-under 67 to sit three ahead of Fleetwood and five in front of Spieth.
“It was good a good start,” said the Scottish No 1. “I just followed on from last week (when he had a chance to win on the DP World Tour in Denmark). I was pretty solid tee to green, putted beautifully and obviously stole one late on (a birdie at the tough par-3 ninth).
“‘The putter is a massive thing. When you start rolling a few in, it makes the game so much easier. That’s what I was able to do. Even at the times when I was out of position, I was able to hole some putts. The putter saved me at times.”
On the back of being crowned as European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2019 then winning twice on the DP World Tour, MacIntyre is no stranger to being in marquee groups.
‘It’s brilliant to be part of it all,” he said, smiling. “When you play with these guys, you know the standard of golf. I play against them week in, week out. It’s good to be in alongside them, But, ultimately, we are all here to try and win a golf tournament.”
By the looks of things, the left-hander is better equipped to be sharing a stage with the likes of three-time major winner Spieth and European Ryder Cup star Fleetwood than four years ago.
“I remember on the first tee with those guys (McIlroy and Fowler), I could hardly tee the ball up,” he said.. ‘Today it was just another day at the office. I’ve played with Tommy loads of times, though it was the first time I’d met Jordan.”
Meanwhile, Ewen Ferguson, the top home performer on the opening day on Scotland’s Golf Coast, is relishing the chance to test himself against PGA Tour players instead of watching them on a TV screen.
Using a birdie-birdie start as a springboard, the two-time DP World Tour winner opened with a four-under-par 66 to sit inside the top ten at the end of the first day, which saw Korean Ben An set the pace with a course record-equalling 61 to lead by two shots.
“I think I did very well,” said Ferguson of his effort. “I think coming out in your home Open and birdieing the first two holes is quite impressive.”
Five-under with one to play, Ferguson finished with a bogey, but it didn’t hurt too much. “I knew at some point in links golf in a round you're going to have a wee point where you need to stick in and really grind and it came,” he added.
“I said to my caddie (Dunbar man Stephen Neilson), it's not going to be free flowing and, in the middle of the front nine (his inward half), I battled hard.
“I love playing in Scotland. I love playing in front of my family and stuff like that. When I'm playing here, I want to showcase my talent and what I'm good at.”
Connor Syme was next best among the Scots with a 68, one better than Grant Forest, while David Law and Calum Hill both signed for 70s.