DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | With a broad smile on his face, Robert MacIntyre rolled in a short putt for a 69 and a 72-hole total of 272, 6-under par, to make sure of becoming the European Tour’s rookie of the year and Challenge Tour graduate of the year. MacIntyre, 23, is the 10th Scot to win the distinguished Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year prize since it was introduced in this format in 1972 and the first since Marc Warren in 2006. It is awarded to the highest-ranked rookie in the Race to Dubai. MacIntyre is the first left-hander to win it.
MacIntyre (above) had seven top-10 finishes in 30 appearances on the European Tour in 2019, finishing runner-up on three occasions, and was T6 in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in his first appearance in a major championship. A Walker Cupper as recently as 2017 at Los Angeles Country Club, he has impressed his peers with both his affability and his ability.
“I played with him at the British Masters a couple of years ago and he hit a 5-iron to the last and I thought to myself, ‘Bloody hell, this lad can play,’ ” Justin Rose said. “He laughs a lot on the golf course, too.”
“I played with Kurt Kitayama (MacIntyre’s closest rival for the award) the past three weeks in the first rounds,” MacIntyre said. “This week we played the first two rounds together. I’ve enjoyed the battle. The past few weeks have been hard because I have been looking over my shoulder and I finally managed to put in two good rounds this week to seal it.”
Even at this early stage in his career MacIntyre already can be described as Scotland’s best-ever left-handed golfer on the grounds that leading Scots golfers who are naturally left-handed, such as Paul Lawrie, play the game the other way round.