Bob MacIntyre is on message as his rival for Rookie of the Year gives nothing away

Kurt Kitayama aims to let his clubs do the talking

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 5:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:01 pm
Kurt Kityama of the United States of America and Bob MacIntyre on the first tee in Dubai

Bob MacIntyre got the message: American Kurt Kitayama aims to let his clubs do the talking in their European Tour Rookie of the Year title battle in Dubai this week.

“Not too much,” replied MacIntyre to being asked if there had been a bit of chat between the pair as they shot matching one-under-par 71s playing together in the first round of the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“I can talk the back legs off a donkey,” added the 23-year-old from Oban, smiling. “I try and get the chat going but, a lot of the time, guys don’t want to. You just get the hint that they are not wanting to talk.”

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MacIntyre admitted he wasn’t in the mood to do much talking himself after starting the back nine with a double-bogey 6, having turned in two-under 34 following birdies at the second, fifth and seventh.

That setback was compounded by a bogey two holes later, but, after repairing some of that damage with birdies at the 14th and 16th, the left-hander was satisfied with his day’s work in front of a small army of fans that included his mum and dad, Carol and Dougie.

“I actually played good, just got the wind wrong on a couple of occasions, and, overall I thought it was all right and positive,” he said.

In the projected Race to Dubai standings, MacIntyre is down two places to 13th but is still one spot above Katayama, a two-time winner this season. Spaniard Adri Arnaus, who is also in the race for the Sir Henry Cotton award but needs a big finish, is 36th on the projected list after an opening 70, with Italian Guido Migliozzi, the last of the four contenders, in 42nd.

“I feel if I can get my game in shape tomorrow, I can get back in the golf tournament,” said MacIntyre, who sits eight shots off the lead, held by Frenchman Mike Lorenozo-Vera.

“Right now, I’m happy enough to walk off one-under par. My job is to win my battle. If I win every battle that I set myself, then the outcome will be irrelevant, and it will be what it will be.”

Despite feeling under the weather, Lorenzo-Vera equalled his lowest round of the season to lead by a shot from world No. 2 Rory McIlroy in the battle to land the biggest first prize in golf of £2.7 million.

After a 70, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger still tops the projected Race to Dubai rankings, but Spanaird Jon Rahm is lurking ominously on 66.

Turkish Airlines fly daily to Dubai via Istanbul with golf clubs flying for free. Check out turkishairlines.com