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The 149th Open Royal St George's

Return of the Mac


Super Scot makes Saturday surge

Bob MacIntyre tees off on the third

Saturday at The Open is known as Moving Day for a reason and Robert MacIntyre gave a perfect illustration as to why with a masterful display which saw him fly up the leaderboard at Royal St George’s.

The sole Scot in action at The 149th Open needed a birdie on the 18th on day two to extend his stay through the weekend and the 50-foot putt which saw him repeat the feat 24 hours later completed a stunning round of 65 and leaves him on -4 going into Championship Sunday.

The 24-year-old, who has made the cut in all seven of his major appearances, put his change in fortunes down to overnight work on putting and the flat stick warmed up as his round went on, culminating in successive birdies on 17 and 18 including that unforgettable moment on the last.

“It was great,” he said. “I mean, I felt like I have played great over the last three days.

“Even the first two days I felt like it was a strong performance, I just couldn't putt.

“We did a bit of work last night and it seemed to help with my confidence, and we just kept it rolling early on today.

“I have really driven it well [this week]. Iron play has been decent. I just found some putts that were not going in early on, and thankfully it happened today.”

MacIntyre tied for sixth on his Open debut at Royal Portrush two years ago and a similar performance on the Sandwich fairways tomorrow could see him put himself in top-10 contention once more.

“Hopefully I can just keep doing what I am doing, keep hitting it the way I am hitting it and keep seeing the putts going in, and hopefully we can get a high finish,” he added.

For a time during the morning, Rory McIlroy was on a similar roll as he began a surge up the standings.

Roared on by hundreds of spectators, including his parents Gerry and Rosie, the Champion Golfer of 2014 made a perfect start with a birdie at the 1st.

Another followed at the 4th and he bounced back from dropping a shot with back-to-back birdies, sinking his putts amid an electric atmosphere around the greens.

But having reached the turn four under for the day with momentum seemingly building, three bogeys in a birdie-less back nine saw the 32-year-old lose ground and he signed for a 69, leaving him -1 for the week.

“Sort of a tale of two nines,” McIlroy said. “I played great on the front nine, hit some really good iron shots and converted some putts and really got it going.

“Then the back nine played tough. They are sort of tucking the pins away. They have stretched the golf course out to as long as it can play.

“I was hitting 2-iron into the 11th hole, that par-3. I missed a short putt there for par and it kind of killed the momentum I had.

“Not birdieing the par-5 and making another couple bogeys on the way in, certainly it felt like a better round than 1-under par, but it was encouraging to see some of the golf that I played on that front nine.

“It is just a matter of trying to keep that going and try to turn those nine-hole stretches into 18-hole stretches, and then those 18-hole stretches into whole tournaments. It is getting there.”

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