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MacIntyre falls at final hurdle as Gregory punches dream Masters ticket

England’s Scott Gregory ‘struck it brilliantly’ in the final to destroy Glencruitten teenager’s hopes of winning the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl

By Craig Dennett

Robert Macintyre described himself as ‘gutted’ to have missed out on Amateur Championship glory after losing a tense finale to England’s Scott Gregory 2&1.

The 19-year-old became the fifth Scot in the last seven years to reach the final of the Amateur Championship, but was unable to make the most of his chance.

As a result, he will miss out on a spot in the Open at Troon, as well as a place in next year’s US Open at Erin Hills and, by tradition, an invitation to the Masters Tournament in 2017.

MacIntyre had begun the event in great form, finishing the strokeplay stages over the links at Royal Porthcawl and Pyle &Kenfig in a tie for sixth place, alongside fellow Scots Craig Ross and Barry Hume.

FORM

From there, comprehensive wins over Australian duo Blake Windred and William Heffernan followed to reach the last-16. MacIntyre was joined in at that stage by three fellow Scots and continued to show his good form. A convincing win over another Australian, David Micheluzzi, catapulted the Oban teen into the quarter finals.

MacIntyre continued to blaze a trail through the field, defeating Spain’s Ivan Cantero 2&1, before winning in extra holes against Ireland’s Paul McBride in the semi-final to set up the showdown with Gregory.

Ranked 50th in the world’s amateur standings following his impressive performance in Wales, MacIntyre was disappointed not to finish the job.

He said: ìI’m gutted overall but it was a good match. It was a close one all the way to the 17th. But fair play to Scott, he hung in there and ended up walking away with the trophy.

ìI thought he struck it brilliantly in the first 12 holes. His short game was just unbelievable. Mine wasn’t quite as sharp as his but we’ll take positives from it.

ìI had heard of Scott but I’d never met him or played with him. He’s a great guy and all the best to him in the tournaments he gets to play in now.î

OPPORTUNITY

Gregory, an England A international, quickly moved three-up in the early stages of the match and looked comfortable until 2015 Scottish Amateur champ MacIntyre won the 15th and holed a 30-foot putt on the 16th to reduce the deficit to one.

Opportunities presented themselves at each of the next two holes for the Scot, but he was unable to take advantage of either, and Gregory maintained his one hole advantage heading into the afternoon round.

The Scot seized the momentum in the early stages of the second round, and moved ahead for the first time after winning the 20th and 21st holes with pars. The pair traded holes over the next six holes but, by the time the match reached the 31st hole, Gregory was back in the lead. The Englishman then moved two-up with five holes to play. When the 35th was halved in four, Gregory was celebrating his most important win to date.

ìI think luck went my way a little bit,î said the 21-year-old. ìI got a couple of lies where I shouldn’t have but I made the most out of them.

“I kept telling myself if I got chances I’ve got to take them. That putt on 17 was the moment I needed to make it so it was nice to do it.”

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