Robert MacIntyre, runner-up in last year’s Amateur Championship, hopes to use his matchplay pedigree when he gains more Challenge Tour experience at a new-look event in Spain this week.
Thanks to Scottish Golf’s work with Bounce Sports Management, left-hander MacIntyre has secured an invitation to the inaugural Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9 – an innovative event which sees matchplay return to the Challenge Tour for the first time in 18 years.
The exciting new tournament features 36 holes of stroke play followed by a series of nine-hole match play battles during the weekend at the La Cala Golf Hotel & Spa.
Bounce, Scottish Golf, Aberdeen Asset Management and SSE Scottish Hydro recently announced their new two-year partnership to help young players develop their careers, both through financial and management support, with rookie pros Grant Forrest and Ewen Ferguson the first recipients of the support in 2017.
Under the new partnership, leading amateurs will also again benefit from pro opportunities this season with Bounce managing the players’ itinerary and preparation, working closely with Scottish Golf’s Performance team who oversee the players for events on the amateur calendar.
Glencruitten’s MacIntyre, who was among those to benefit from pro starts last year, will now tee up with the likes of Forrest, Ferguson and 2014 Amateur champion Bradley Neil in Andalucia this week.
“I can’t wait to get going, as the course is designed for this kind of format which is great to see,” said MacIntyre, also a European Amateur team winner with Scotland last summer.
“I feel like my game is in a good place at the moment, which was the same at the British (Amateur) last year, so everything is in place for me to go out there and enjoy myself while trying to play good golf. Getting the chance to play in these Challenge Tour events is great, as it lets you know what stage you’re at in the build up to where you want to be. Last year, I missed both cuts by one shot so I’m hoping to put that behind me and get things moving in the right direction.”
MacIntyre continues to ride high in the World Amateur Golf Rankings at sixth spot, three places ahead of Drumoig’s Connor Syme, but isn’t thinking ahead too far.
The 20-year-old, who also won the Scottish Amateur at Muirfield in 2015, added: “I always see each day as a school day, as after every day of life you should learn something which makes you better the next day. You can’t sit still in this game, or you’re going to be passed by.
“I feel the chances to play at a better level is always going to help and I think, for Grant and Ewen, they both will feel a bit more relaxed in their first full season as professionals due to knowing what to do and what not to do on and off the course.”