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MacIntyre eager to capitalise on flying start

Keeping cool: Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre (left) speaks to his caddy Greg Milne
Keeping cool: Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre (left) speaks to his caddy Greg Milne

By Nick Purewal

Robert MacIntyre believes he can ride The Open "roller-coaster" all the way to a maiden major title.

The Oban native shot a three under par 68 on Thursday as The Open returned to Royal Portrush for the first time in 68 years.

The 22-year-old grabbed the perfect foothold for an assault on the competition with a fine first round on his major tournament debut.

And now he is confident he has what it takes to build on that impressive opening salvo.

"All this is not more than I thought myself, but it's quicker than I expected," said MacIntyre.

"It's come faster than I ever thought. I was expecting to have another year on the challenge tour.

"But life's a roller coaster, and you've just got to keep riding it.

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"My caddie Greg (Milne) just kept glancing at me.

"We had words and just went 'can we win this?' And I think we can. I just need to put myself into a position to do so come Sunday."

MacIntyre qualified for The Open courtesy of a maintaining a top-20 berth in the Race to Dubai in June.

The Scottish star bagged an eagle and five birdies to equal the first round returns of 2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia.

MacIntyre admitted his Irish caddie Milne and his playing partner Andrew 'Beef' Johnston kept him calm amid the rising pressure of his impressive round.

Asked how he stayed relaxed on course, MacIntyre said: "One of the big things is Greg.

"When we're walking down the fairway we're never talking golf, we're talking anything but.

"And Beef was a big help. He just kept laughing any time the crowd went wild. A lot of it is also about preparing for what's next. Things keep snowballing.

"Then last week (the Scottish Open) prepared me for this week.

"And everything that's happening just now is preparing me for the next thing.

"There's still more things to see and prepare for, and you just have to take that as it comes.

"It was a brilliant day all-round. I think just now it (pressure) is no problem, everyone's just jockeying for position.

"It's played over 72 holes and we've only played 18."

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