Twenty-seven years after playing for Scotland in the Home Internationals, Edinburgh golfer Euan McIntosh will be back teeing it up in the four-cornered event next month at the age of 47.
Twelve months ago, Turnhouse man McIntosh was just contemplating a comeback after he’d effectively called time on his professional career after an unsuccessful season on the Challenge Tour in 2003.
His game was “horrendous” when he first picked up a set of clubs again but, bitten by the golf bug for a second time in his life, he has rolled back the years since being reinstated to the amateur ranks.
Losing out to Scottish No.1 Grant Forrest in a play-off for the Battle Trophy at Crail was no fluke as McIntosh set out this season trying to make his presence felt on the Scottish Golf Order of Merit.
He’s currently sitting fourth on that, having since finished second in the East of Scotland Open at Lundin, third in the Tennant Cup at Gailes Links and Killermont, and fourth in the Cameron Corbett Vase at Haggs Castle. Add in the fact he also finished as leading amateur in the Northern Open at Royal Dornoch, where he closed with a 67, and McIntosh had a strong claim to become the oldest player to be capped by Scotland in modern times.
“This was definitely the main goal for this season, but I’m surprised, to be honest,” said the man himself after securing one of nine automatic spots in the home team at Nairn, with the final two berths to be filled after next week’s Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen. I just thought that age was going to stand against me, but fair play to them for saying ‘he’s playing okay so let’s give him a chance’. Hats off to them for that. The last time I played in the Home Internationals was ’89 at Ganton, where the Scottish team included Alan Tait, Jim Milligan, Craig Everett, Andrew Coltart and Drew Elliot.
“My first singles game was against Peter McEvoy. I was six-under and lost 2&1. It was quite a welcome to the Home Internationals.”
McIntosh, who turned professional in 1990, spent time in Germany and Singapore before arriving home in the Capital in April to launch a comeback that he hopes will lead to a crack at the Senior Tour once he turns 50.
“First of all, it was a case of seeing what it would be like to play again – and it was horrendous,” he admitted. “However, that probably wasn’t a surprise as I’d only played 25 times in ten years.
“I started back on July 28 last year and I soon got the golf bug back. I kept hitting balls and it’s got better. Golf is a challenge and slowly but surely it’s come back. I’ve had a lot of help from Colin Brooks up at the Braid Hills Golf Centre. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to be picked for Scotland again.
“I think the biggest thing that has helped me is that, when I quit when I was 31, I didn’t play at all. The last time I played Challenge Tour was 2003 and, having been away from golf all that time, my body is still fresh.
“If’d kept playing I’d probably have picked up some injuries so in that respect I’ve been lucky. I still carry my bag for 36 holes a day and feel okay.”
McIntosh’s return to the international fray is a timely boost ahead of the Firestone Scottish Amateur at Royal Aberdeen, where he meets Fortrose & Rosemarkie’s Euan Gill in the opening round on Monday.
“I’ve got a really open mind about next week,” he confessed. “If it goes great, fantastic. If I come up against a guy who goes all guns blazing, you just have to accept it. But I’m looking forward to it as Royal Aberdeen is a great course.”
Other Lothians hopefuls in Scottish Golf’s flagship men’s event include Bruntsfield Links teenager Eric McIntosh, who is bidding to complete a match-play double after winning the boys’ equivalent at Royal Aberdeen’s next door neighbour, Murcar Links, in April.
For two others, Harburn’s Chris Curran and Baberton’s Scott Carmichael, the opening round offers a chance to write the early headlines as they come up against defending champion Bob MacIntyre (Glencruitten) and rising star Sandy Scott (Nairn) respectively.
Fellow 34-year-olds Barry Hume (Haggs Castle) and Kilmacolm’s Matt Clark, who won the South East District Open at Turnhouse last year, are also among the nine players selected so far for the Home Internationals.