Robert MacIntyre has turned professional and will start the new chapter in his career with two outings on the MENA Tour.
The 21-year-old is making the switch on the back of a successful amateur career, which concluded with an appearance in last month’s Walker Cup in Los Angeles.
MacIntyre, who joined Stephen Gallacher, Grant Forrest and Ewen Ferguson in the Bounce Sport stable in August, will make his debut in this week’s Jordan Golf Championship at AYLA Golf Club in Aqaba. He will then spend some time practising in Dubai before teeing up in the Sahara Kuwait Championship in Kuwait City from 16 – 18 October.
The left-hander from Glencruitten is using the trip to the Middle East to get ready for the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain at the beginning of next month.
“It was going to happen at some point,” said MacIntyre, who leaves the amateur ranks sitting 14th in the world, of his move. “The big question was ‘when?’. And now is as good a time as ever.
“I’m sure I could have explored playing in a few bigger European Tour events at the start of my professional career, but the route I’m taking is geared towards the Qualifying School. That’s my main goal and the reason I’m playing in these two MENA Tour events is that I feel it will give me the best chance of securing my card for next season.”
MacIntyre gave a glimpse of his potential in 2013 when he became the first player to win the national youths and boys’ stroke play titles in the same year. He then won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Muirfield in 2015 before reaching the final of the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl the following season.
Earlier this year, as part of his preparation for turning professional, he played in three Challenge Tour events – the Andalucia Costa del Sol March Play 9 in Spain, Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France and the Vierumaki Finnish Challenge.
“This trip will allow me to practice as long as I want each day, which isn’t the case back home at this time of the year due to the weather,” added MacIntyre, who was unbeaten in two matches against highly-rated American Cameron Champ in the Walker Cup.
“You’ve got to start somewhere when you turn pro and I don’t mind at all going from the top of the amateur game to working my way up through the professional ranks.”
Stuart Clayton, Acting Head of Performance at Scottish Golf, added: “Robert has benefited from the opportunities that our am-to-pro programme has presented to him this year, working alongside Bounce Sport.
“This year saw Robert climb to No 14 in the world amateur rankings and earn GB&I Walker Cup selection and we congratulate him on those fantastic achievements. On behalf of Scottish Golf, we would like to thank Robert for his commitment over the years at amateur level and wish him every success for the future.”
Syme and Johnston Set for Alfred Dunhill Links
Rookie pro Connor Syme has described the opportunity to play in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as a “dream come true”.
The last time Syme, now 22, played it was in 2014 as an amateur, but now he is in the field as a fully fledged professional and eagerly looking forward to following up on his outstanding debut performance in the Portugal Masters, where he finished joint 12th.
Syme, a GB&I Walker Cup team-mate of MacIntyre, said: “I will never forget playing as a 19-year-old amateur. It gave me a real taste of the big time and made me even more determined to become a professional. So to be able to return to the Dunhill three years on, as a pro, is a dream come true.
“I was delighted with how my first tournament went in Portugal and I hope I can do as well at St Andrews. It’s the place everyone wants to do well.”
He qualified to play in the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links through the Scottish Golf Union – both the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship support the belief that amateur golf development is of paramount importance to the future of the game.
Liam Johnston, the 2017 Carrick Neill Scottish Men’s Open Stroke Play champion, is also teeing up in the event this week.
Jaffrey Secures Third Win on US Soil
Kilwinning’s Connie Jaffrey, winner of the Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen earlier this year, has won the third tournament of her US college career.
She also led the Kansas State University women’s golf team to its first team victory of the season in the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational at Colbert Hills, Manhattan.
After setting the tournament record for the lowest individual round in tournament history with a six-under-par 66 in the opening round, the Scot, in her fourth and final year as a Kansas State University student, continued her dominance by returning two par scores of 72 to finish six strokes ahead of the field of 51 competitors at six-under par 210.
Jaffrey’s 54-hole aggregate tied for the third lowest in Kansas State University women’s golf programme history.
Under-16 match with England
England emerged victorious in a friendly Under-16 match against Scotland at the weekend. At Montrose Links for the Shamash Quaich, England won 19.5 – 10.5.