MacIntyre Brilliantly Stamps Ryder Cup Credentials With Italian Open Play-Off Success On Host Venue

Scotland’s top-ranked Robert MacIntyre brilliantly stamped his 2023 Ryder Cup selection credentials with his stunning play-off bictory on the host Marco Simone course outside of Rome.

The Oban lefty came from three back at the start of the final round posting 10 birdies in sizzling last day 64 for a 14-under tally before being joined at the top by US Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick (67).

The pair returned to the 18th tee and while Fitzpatrick complained of being distracted on the tee by photo-snapping fans, he found rough with his second and with MacIntyre taking full advantage with a two-putting winning birdie.

MacIntyre said: “This win means everything. I was done and out of it some two or three months ago.  I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know where to go.

“But I spoke to the right people and there’s so much hard work gone into this, my caddie, family, friends, absolutely everyone, Scott, a few weeks ago, Scott Forsythe. My approach play has just gone up a notch and it’s shown today

 

“I hit terrible shots for bogeys on 14 and 15 and was back against the wall, and again, just got one with my dogged attitude of never give up, if I get punched, I punch back.

“The birdies on 16 and 18 were massive and thankfully I got in the playoff”.

And after going so close to gaining automatic European Team selection a year ago at Wentworth, MacIntyre could do no better this week than win on the 2023 host course and do it impressively in front of the European captain, Luke Donald.

MacIntyre said: “It’s my main goal, my only goal for next year. I’ve done it on the golf course.

“Look, start of this week, I didn’t think this was going to be — the style of golf course we’re playing and I was working on a few things Tuesday and Wednesday, was able to control my golf ball this week with wedges and irons and even the hybrid that went into the bag last week.

“We’re also well away from The Ryder Cup obviously, and you know, what might as well say it, it’s my No. 1 priority. I was close last time, and I went to try to get my PGA TOUR card, didn’t work out, both sides.

“But this is what I want. This is my only goal for the season is to make that Ryder Cup Team. I think I’ve made a good start.”

In winning a second Tour title, MacIntyre not only denied Fitzpatrick but also World No. 2 Rory McIlroy who never recovered from a first hole double-bogey and also finding water at 17 in signing a 68 for fourth spot at 12-under.

Broughty Ferry-based French star Victor Perez let slip making the play-off in missing a short putt for birdie at the last in his round of 66 to be third on 13-under.

MacIntyre is now the fourth Scotsman to win this year on the DP World Tour year joining double-winning Ewen Ferguson along with Richie Ramsay.

Victory brilliantly also curbs MacIntryre’s downward slide on the World Rankings moving from an 111th to an expected World No. 80.

He also became the 10th Scottish-born winner in this year’s 79th hosting of the Italian, and a first since Paisley’s Dean Robertson won by a shot in the 1999 event in Torina.

Other Scots to win the Italian Open include Sandy Lyle (1984 and 1992),  Sam Torrance (1987 and 1995), Brian Barnes (1979), Norman Wood (1972), Eric Brown (1952) and Jimmy Adams (1951).

It’s been two months shy of two years since MacIntyre stamped his enormous potential capturing the Cyprus Showdown event, and five months later he stamped his Masters debut and in sharing 12th place, he booked a return 2022 visit

However, in the 39 DP World Tour events since his win in Cyprus MacIntrye’s managed just six top-10s.

He buried that statistic on the host 2023 Ryder Cup course holing a 24-footer for birdie at the first, made a super sand save at two, and then set about his drive to the top holing a nine-footer for birdie at the third and then three birdies in succession from the fifth hole.

MacIntyre holed a three-footer on five to move to a share of the lead on 10-under, a three-footer on six to go one clear and two ahead with a ‘gimme’ birdie on seven.

He got a huge break when his ninth hole tee shot cannoned off a tree and avoided water and walked off with a sixth birdie of his round.

MacIntyre dropped a shot but found himself three clear of the field at 14-under with back-to-back birdied on 12 and 13, and where he holed a stunning 13-foot curling putt for an eighth birdie of his day.

He was back-pedalling after bogeys on 14 and 15 before grabbing the finish he needed, holing a nine-footer for birdie at 16 and then the vital two-putt birdie at the 72nd, and the fourth time in four days he birdied the last.

MacIntyre won pick ‘the correct hand’ to tee-up first and send a monster 340-drive down the last, and with Fitzpatrick very clearly saying to some spectators ‘“Thanks lads! Right on my back swing’ and with his drive finding rough.

MacIntyre was on the green in two and calmly two-putted for a winning birdie, after Fitzpatrick also found greenside rough from where he chipped and two-putted for par.

 



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