The Open: Bob MacIntyre dries eyes and fixes focus on St Andrews finale


Bob MacIntyre
Sizeable galleries have greeted Bob MacIntyre on each hole at St Andrews this week
Venue: St Andrews, Scotland Dates: 14-17 July
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The St Andrews galleries are rarely considered intimidating. Knowledgeable? Yes. Reverent? Absolutely. But capable of causing unease to those on the course? Surely not.

And yet during Friday’s second round, those supporters whipped up such emotional tumult inside home hopeful Bob MacIntyre that the ebullient Scot had been reduced to a husk of a man by time he left the Old Course.

At that stage his participation over the weekend was likely, but unconfirmed, after an acrimonious 74. The cut line ultimately fell on those one shot adrift of the 25-year-old, but the toll of his day’s work was weighty, regardless of the outcome.

“I was sitting at the dinner table just slouched, I didn’t know what to do,” he reflected, a good night’s sleep and an unencumbered Saturday 69 having settled his scrambled mind. “I was trying to eat, but I was just… I was done.

“I could have curled up in a ball when I finished and cried. I’ve never been that stressed on a golf course in my life. With seven holes to go. Had to turn away from the fairway on 16 because there was too much going on.

“The support is absolutely brilliant, but I was feeling it. I wasn’t going to let them down but I was trying almost too hard.”

Despite his early outing on Saturday, the galleries were still swollen as MacIntyre returned to the scene, cries of “Mon, Boab” greeting his arrival on every tee and green.

The Oban-native cut a far more relaxed figure as he made his way round the links. A couple of birdies ensured he reached the turn under par, before three more on the way home upholstered his card.

Cathartically, the final of those came on 16 when a 30-foot putt meandered into the cup.

“I enjoyed it because there was no consequence,” he said. “I was hitting shots I wouldn’t have hit yesterday. On 16, I hit driver down the left. Yesterday I had to turn away on that hole because I had to switch off for a second to give me a bit of peace.

“I’ve not mastered The Old Course yet. I don’t know quite how to play a few holes, and it’s driving me insane right now. But tomorrow is going to be absolutely brilliant. Hopefully I’ll shoot a bit lower than today and get the crowd going.”

The other remaining Scot in the field, David Law, had a less enjoyable time of it on Saturday. Three under at halfway and well-placed for the weekend, the 31-year-old was one of the few players to go backwards in the relatively clement conditions.

Birdie opportunities were spurned at the first three holes before some misadventures around the green on four led to a messy double. More bunker trouble led to a similar outcome on six and it was an afternoon of huffing and puffing from there.

“I played decent enough on the front nine, got unlucky on four, a bit unlucky on six, and all of a sudden you’re four over on a day you feel you should be under par,” said Law, who eventually signed for a 77 to leave him two over.

“You chase it a little bit and that’s what happens. But we’re playing four days at The Open at St Andrews. So hopefully I play a good one tomorrow and we’ll finish off on a positive note on a great week.”

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