Former McNeese golfer Bob MacIntyre wins first European Tour event

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Bob MacIntyre
Courtesy: EuropeanTour.com

Bob MacIntyre claimed his first win on the European Tour on Sunday after he sank birdies on the final two holes to secure a one stroke win and capturing the top spot at the 2020 Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown in Paphos, Cyprus.

The former McNeese Cowboy golfer who won Southland Conference and Louisiana Freshman of the Year honors becomes just the second golfer in McNeese history to post a win in either the PGA or European Tours joining Derek Lamely who won the PGA’s Puerto Rico Open in 2010. Another former Cowboy, Adrien Mork, won two tournaments in the Challenge Tour and become the first golfer in that tour’s history to shoot a 59.

MacIntyre had been a picture of consistency all week at Aphrodite Hills Resort, comfortably finishing in the pack as the field was cut to 32 and then 19 players after rounds two and three, with the scores reset to par for the final two days as part of the innovative format.

He finished in a tie for third over this layout last week at the Cyprus Open after a closing 65, and he went one shot better seven days later to finish at seven under, a stroke clear of Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.

Spaniard Jorge Campillo finished at five under after a birdie-eagle finish, a shot ahead of Belgian Thomas Detry, England’s Callum Shinkwin and American Johannes Veerman.

MacIntyre claimed the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award last season as he finished 11th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, with three runner up finishes and a further four top tens.

The 2020 season had not been as fruitful, with MacIntyre claiming a single top ten before arriving in Paphos, but he now becomes the 12th first time winner of the season, and second Scot after Marc Warren.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s what I’ve dreamed of as a wee kid,” said MacIntyre, who revealed he has struggled mentally in 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown.

“Watching Scottish Opens at Loch Lomond and to finally play on Tour and give myself a lot of chances last year, this week the format suited me and we took it out.

“I’ve done a lot of work in the last six months, not thinking about winning a golf tournament, just to play my golf.

“Last year, I was talking and thinking about winning golf tournaments when I was going down the back nine on a Sunday, but this year I’ve just tried to take my time and let it happen.

“What will happen will happen and it’s happened today.”

There was a seven way tie for the lead at three under as the day’s first group were coming to the end of their rounds and the final group were making the turn.

Kawamura had birdied the first and par five third and, while he dropped a shot on the next, he holed from 12 feet at the fifth and closer range on the 11th to share the lead.

The 27-year-old then found the putting surface on the driveable par four 14th and got down in two to break out of the logjam and lead the way.

He soon had MacIntyre for company as the 24-year-old hit a stunning approach to ten feet at the 13th to join the lead.

He had earlier birdied the second but given the shot straight back before holing a 20 footer on the fifth and taking advantage of the par five sixth and tenth.

Marcus Armitage had also been in a share of the lead at four under before a 48 minute delay due to the threat of lightning, but the Englishman triple bogeyed the last upon the resumption.

Kawamura had no such trouble as he holed a six footer on the 16th to get to five under but MacIntyre would not be shaken off as he holed a 15 foot putt from the fringe at the 15th to join him.

MacIntyre then put his tee shot to the 17th to tap-in range but ahead at the last, Kawamura got down in two after going just over the green and MacIntyre needed a birdie of his own on the par five for victory.

The man from Oban found the perfect spot in the fairway off the final tee and after putting his second inside 20 feet, the took two putts for victory.

Campillo made a fast start with birdies on the second and third but after a bogey on the seventh, he made six pars in a row before a gain on the 14th kickstarted his big finish.

Veerman bounced back from two early bogeys to register his 67, Detry eagled the last in a round that also contained two bogeys and a double, and last week’s winner Shinkwin carded an eagle, three birdies and a bogey.

Malaysian Gavin Green and Frenchman Alexander Levy finished at three under, a shot clear of English duo Steven Brown and Matthew Jordan, South African Louis de Jager, Swede Niklas Lemke and German Bernd Ritthammer.

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