Robert MacIntyre wins Cyprus Showdown amid ‘mental struggle’ in pandemic

3 weeks ago
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Robert MacIntyre
64 R MacIntyre (Sco); 65 M Kawamura (Jpn); 66 J Campillo (Spa); 67 C Shinkwin (Eng), Johannes Veerman (USA), Thomas Detry (Bel)
Selected others:68 Gavin Green (Mal), Alexander Levy (Fra); 69 Steven Brown (Eng), Matthew Jordan (Eng)

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre claimed his first European Tour title in the Cyprus Showdown but admitted he has “struggled mentally” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 24-year-old from Oban birdied four of his last six holes at Aphrodite Hills to finish a shot ahead of Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.

Nineteen players had qualified for a final day on which they started level.

“It’s a great week. The momentum is there, so it’s about going out and enjoying myself again,” MacIntyre said.

“I’ve struggled in every part of life since the Covid pandemic and my golf had struggled as well. Only my family know what’s gone on, but we finally found some form and started playing a few tournaments in a row and you start to build momentum.”

MacIntyre paid tribute to his new caddie for helping him cope with the pressure of the closing holes of his seven-under-par 64 round.

“We got a storm delay on the 14th tee, so when we came back out, I managed to make three birdies in the last five holes, so it was a nice way to finish,” he told BBC Scotland.

“Last week, I had come up just short and it was on the exact same course this week, so I knew the golf course and, when it came down to the shootout on the last day, it suited my style of golf. I make a lot of birdies but also make a lot of mistakes and thankfully today I made few mistakes.”

MacIntyre was inches away from a hole-in-one on the 17th and tapped in for birdie to briefly take the outright lead before Kawamura birdied the 18th to complete a 65.

That left MacIntyre needing to birdie the last to win and the left-hander followed a perfect drive with a solid approach before safely two-putting from 20 feet to secure victory.

The Scot admits he must now assess how he balances tournaments to continue his good form while remaining clear of the virus.

“It’s obviously something you don’t want to stop, but life’s more important than golf tournaments and you just have to try to stay safe,” he added.

“I’ve just struggled mentally overall and I’m sure a lot of folk in the sport world have struggled, but I’ve got the right folk around me and today sums it all up.”

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BBC Sport – Golf

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