Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre is loving his time in Cyprus and it showed for his fifth round in a row on Aphrodite Hills with the first round lead in the Cyprus Showdown tournament.
MacIntyre finished just a couple of shots out of the play-off won by Callum Shinkwin at the venue last week after improving his round score by a shot on every day in the Cyprus Open, but although he didn’t continue that streak, he matched his final round score on Sunday with a six-under 65 to lead by a shot.
Not surprisingly, MacIntyre is loving a bit of winter sun at the resort neat Paphos, but it’s his revitalised game after a difficult year that’s enthusing him most.
“I’m delighted, again I played great golf,” he said. “A few mishits off the tee, but it’s one of those golf courses where I can open my shoulders a little bit more and give it a little bit extra.
“I missed a few putts that were still shaving the edges of holes but overall it was a good round of golf.”
The reigning European Tour rookie of the year didn’t drop a shot, and made the most of ideal conditions with a change in the weather forecast for the second round.
“The course suits my eye, I said the same to Mikey (Thomson, his caddie) and my coach at the start of last week,” he continued. “Visually there are certain shots that, if it was a different sort of wind, I wouldn’t like them, but with the normal wind direction it suits me, and I’m rolling the putter great.”
A new set of irons in the bag – old spec, but brand new – has been the key to his turnaround as well.
“I’m hitting the numbers I know I should,” he added. “At Wentworth we weren’t doing that with the old set, the lofts kept going stronger and we were struggling.
“To have fixed that has been a big help.”
A strokeplay lead doesn’t mean that much as the tournament switches after the second round to matchplay – a format that MacIntyre was among the best in Europe at during his amateur days.
I’m trying to lead every round of golf that I play, hopefully lead after tomorrow and once it’s back to level for the weekend, again you want to win every day.
“It’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow with the weather coming in. I’ll just take it a day at a time.”
Former amateur champion Romain Langasque from France is one of seven players a shot behind, with the Gleneagles Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson also in that number.
MacIntyre’s stablemate Grant Forrest shot a 68, while three other Scots – David Drysdale, Connor Syme and Ewen Ferguson – had one-under 71s.