Billed as the future of Scottish professional men’s golf and earmarked as a potential Europe Ryder Cup star, Robert MacIntyre added so much substance to the hype at the Italian Open by not only beating Matt Fitzpatrick in a play-off but also Rory McIlroy ward off.
This is the victory the 26-year-old from Oban craved. MacIntyre broke his DP World Tour maiden in Cyprus in 2020 and highlighted his ball hitting quality with two top 10s in the Open and a top 12 at the 2020 Masters.
But after cracking the top 50 in the world, MacIntyre had dropped to 110 in the rankings and complained about a season where he had only made one top 10. Still, he reversed that mediocrity on the final round in Rome and shot a 64 to reach 14- . under and forced extra holes with the reigning US Open champion Fitzpatrick firing a 67. MacIntyre birdied the first hole of sudden death and was understandably emotional.
“This means everything,” MacIntyre said. “Two or three months ago I was down and out. I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t know where to go, but we spoke to the right people and I got two of the perfect golf shots in the last one there. There’s so much here hard work put into it.
“I have a tenacious attitude, never give up. I get beaten but I hit back. The birdies that came in were huge and luckily I got one in the play-off.”
Europe captain Luke Donald is sure to be impressed by MacIntyre’s 11 birdies on the final day. Marco Simone Country Club will host the biennial dust-up in a year’s time and after McIlroy tipped him to make the team, MacIntyre emphasized his determination.