2019 Open: Bob MacIntyre on why he’s been influenced by Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson tees off on the 16th during a practice round at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Pic: GettyPhil Mickelson tees off on the 16th during a practice round at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Pic: Getty
Phil Mickelson tees off on the 16th during a practice round at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Pic: Getty
All eyes will be on Rory McIlroy, the man from Holywood, in the 148th Open but young Scot Bob MacIntyre is hoping to produce some Hollywood-style shots at Royal Portrush.

The 22-year-old is one of five Scots in the line up for the season’s final major, joining Paul Lawrie, Russell Knox, Connor Syme and Sam Locke in flying the Saltire on the Antrim Coast.

MacIntyre, who is enjoying a brilliant rookie season on the European Tour, is a left-hander and, unsurprisingly, admits he’s been influenced in how he plays by the best-known lefty on the planet, Phil Mickelson.

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“Phil is probably the main one as you think to yourself, ‘he just goes for everything’,” said MacIntyre. “Probably my dad, Dougie, watched Phil over the years and that’s the way I’ve been brought up on the golf course.

“I like seeing the Hollywood shot (laughing). I want to win. That’s the main goal. This year I’ve had two chances and Denmark (where he finished second to Austrian Bernd Wiesberger) was the main one. That was the closest I’ve been.

“I had been going backwards all year before Hillside (where he also finished second in the British Masters). I might have been sitting around 30th at the cut and would maybe end up 40th. Then I managed to turn that around in the British Masters.

“Once you have secured your card, it’s about trying to win. You want to enjoy yourself out on the golf course as that’s when you play your best and for me it’s about going at the course and attacking it.”

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MacIntyre, who won the 2015 Scottish Amateur Championship at Muirfield, added: ‘When I went to college in the States I realised that these guys were shooting 20-under par for three rounds. I won an event with 15-under out there and that’s when you realise these guys are going for everything.

“I am still trying to find the right balance and at the moment I think I am doing a good job of getting it round when things are going as well I would like on the course.

“I learned a lot over there and in particular that you have to shoot really good numbers. On the amateur scene here, par may be good when you are playing in the Lytham Trophy but that’s no good in any other event unless it’s an Open when it is blowing.”

The young Scot is out with Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston in Thursday’s opening round, following Sam Locke, last year’s Silver Medal winner at Carnoustie, on to the first tee.

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Locke has 2016 Scottish Open winner Alex Noren and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo Vera for company, with Russell Knox the third Scot into battle alongside Haotong Li and new Scottish champion Wiesberger.

Syme, who is making his second appearance in the event after playing at Royal Birkdale in 2017, is out in the next match with American Jason Kokrak and Canadian Austin Connelly.

And, on the 20th anniversary of his title triumph at Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie starts out in the afternoon with American Chez Reavie and South African Justin Harding.