Classy MacIntyre secures European Open lead

By Sports Desk September 06, 2019

Robert MacIntyre shot a classy 65 to claim a four-shot lead at the European Open.

The 23-year-old followed up his opening round of 68 with a seven-under performance on Friday to surge clear at the top of the Hamburg leaderboard.

Scottish rising star MacIntyre, who is seeking his first title on the tour, will play with world number 924 Bernd Ritthammer in the final pairing on Saturday.

The German went round in 66 to move to seven under, two shots ahead of Paul Casey, who failed to capitalise on an opening 66 as he followed up with a one-over 73 that featured four dropped shots.

"I'm quite happy to be standing here with one over - five under for the tournament," Casey told the European Tour's official website.

"It's such a difficult golf course. Attitude is key and I had a good attitude. Luckily there are some options to get birdies if you stick with it and you hit good golf shots and luckily I made a couple but yeah, very difficult stuff."

World number nine Xander Schauffele had a 69 to move to two under, but fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar sat two over and four over respectively, Reed making the cut but Kuchar missing out by one shot.

There was no doubting the star of the show at the Green Eagle club, though, with MacIntyre's brilliant bogey-free round firing the Scot into a dominant position.

Related items

  • Local hope An Byeong-hun surges into CJ Cup lead Local hope An Byeong-hun surges into CJ Cup lead

    Local hope An Byeong-hun holds a one-shot lead after round one of the CJ Cup.

    The South Korean shot an eight-under 64 on the opening day at Nine Bridges to hold a slender lead over Chilean Joaquin Niemann, with Australian Jason Day one stroke further back. 

    Americans Charley Hoffman and Charles Howell III are among the chasing pack at five-under, having spent most of the day challenging at the top of the leaderboard.

    Defending champion and world number one Brooks Koepka had something of a frustrating round but nailed an eagle on the 18th to finish at three-under.

    The opening day belonged to An, though, as he finished with eight birdies – including four on the back nine – to move into the lead.

    Only Niemann bettered An's run at the back end of Nine Bridges with five birdies, including two on holes 17 and 18.

  • Tiger should pick himself - Thomas backs Woods for self-selection at Presidents Cup Tiger should pick himself - Thomas backs Woods for self-selection at Presidents Cup

    Tiger Woods should select himself as a captain's pick for the Presidents Cup provided he is fit to play, says Justin Thomas.

    Fitness woes in the backend of the season, including surgery to repair knee cartilage in August, hindered Woods, who is due to return at this month's ZOZO Championship in Japan.

    Woods failed to gain automatic selection for the biennial Presidents Cup, which pits the United States against an international team not including European players.

    The 15-time major champion can still feature, though, by naming himself among four wildcard selections, a scenario Ryder Cup team-mate Thomas is backing.

    "I think if he's healthy and playing well, I mean, I'll take him 100 times out of 100," Thomas said in quotes reported by Sky Sports. 

    "I think he knows his body and knows himself well enough to make that decision.

    "He's asked me about it and I've told him that exact same thing. For him, it's all about health, and for anybody. They need to make sure their game is ready and their body is ready because it's not just something that you do just to do.

    "If he's going to pick himself, he's only going to do it if he's ready and he's playing well. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see." 

    Several players are vying for a pick, with Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland among them, and Thomas says Woods has been conversing with players already on the team over who should get the nod.

    "[Woods] has reached out to all of us on the team about what we think and what we want," Thomas added. "It is kind of a different year, but that being said, it's not a bad thing, it's a good thing.

    "It shows how deep our team is and how many great players we truly have with the chance and the possibility of having on the team playing. He's going to make the right decisions."

  • He hasn't won a major for five years! - Koepka dismisses McIlroy rivalry talk He hasn't won a major for five years! - Koepka dismisses McIlroy rivalry talk

    Brooks Koepka insists he does not have a rivalry with Rory McIlroy because the Northern Irishman has not won a major since 2014.

    World number one Koepka has enjoyed a phenomenal run in golf's major events over recent years, claiming victory at the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens and 2018 and 2019 US PGA Championships.

    In 2019, as well as winning the US PGA, he finished tied second at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open and tied fourth at The Open Championship.

    McIlory, ranked number two in the world, finished last season by claiming the FedEx Cup and was named the PGA Tour's player of the year – voted for by his fellow professionals.

    But the 30-year-old's wait for a fifth major now stands at five years, dating back to his triumph at the 2014 PGA Championship.

    Speaking ahead of his CJ Cup defence, Koepka mischievously offered a reminder of this when the prospect of a rivalry with McIlroy was discussed.

    "I've been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don't view it as a rivalry," Koepka said, as per AFP.

    "I'm not looking at anybody behind me. I'm number one in the world. I've got open road in front of me. I'm not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don't see it as a rivalry.

    "You know if the fans do [call it a rivalry], then that's on them and it could be fun."

    Koepka made sure to point out he remains a huge admirer of McIlroy's game and suggested his stance on rivalries might have more to do with golf as a sport in general.

    "Look, I love Rory. He's a great player and he's fun to watch," he added. "But it's just hard to believe there's a rivalry in golf. I just don't see it."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.