GIVE that man a hand. The galleries certainly did. With the kind of thrilling finishing flourish that grandstands were invented for, Robert MacIntyre trundled in a raking putt of some 60-feet on Royal St George’s 18th green to earn a closing birdie and a rapture of applause.

He may be the only Scot in the 149th Open Championship but it is a case of quality rather than quantity. MacIntyre’s neatly constructed five-under 65 for a four-under tally held the clubhouse lead for a spell as the last groups at the sharp end prepared to head out in round three.

Having made the halfway cut with nothing to spare on Friday, the 24-year-old moved through the gears and got motoring up the order. His final salvo, after a wayward approach plonked him in the treacherous dip to the left hand side of 18th green, certainly stirred the senses. It is a spot that has plenty of Scottish golfing history attached to it too.

It was from this little hollow back in 1922 that George Duncan took three to get down and lost The Open by a shot to Walter Hagen. Sandy Lyle also made a hash of it in 1985 when his first dunt up the slope rolled back to his feet and left the Scot crumpled on his knees fearing the worst. Thankfully, Lyle’s bogey on the last hole then was still good enough to win the Claret Jug.

MacIntyre’s effort was not for any silverware but it still put a silver lining on a fine day’s work.

“It was a bonus there at 18,” said MacIntyre with a beaming smile so wide it could be seen in the Pas-de-Calais. “You are not expecting to hole that, you are just trying to get down in two. My second shot in wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to hit it, but the third one made up for it.”

After lamenting a few putts that had gone a-begging during the opening couple of days, MacIntyre finally found the pace and precision on the St George’s greens. A 20-footer for a birdie on the second was just what the doctor ordered. From there, he started holing them in merry abandon.

“I just needed to see one good one going in at the right pace to believe I can hole putts,” added the world No 53. “That one at the second was perfect."

“It wasn’t the shape I prefer as it was a right-to-lefter, but it was a perfect speed and when you get the pace right, the hole becomes so much bigger.”

On the biggest stage, MacIntyre once again prospered. The Scot has played all four rounds in the seven majors he has contested since finishing tied sixth on his debut at The Open in 2019.

The majors, with the hype and hoopla, are a whole different ball game to the week-to-week outings on tour but MacIntyre has found a level of comfort that is akin to slipping into a pair of baffies that have been warmed at the hearth.

“This is where I want to play golf and I’m fully comfortable now,” he said. “I want to be competing against the best and you can only be the best if you are competing against them and beating them.”

MacIntyre’s fearless approach is one of his endearing qualities but the canny nous of his caddie, Mike Thomson, helps to rein in those bold, attacking instincts.

“He’s a great help when the pins are tough,” added MacIntyre. “He just kept on telling me, ‘stay disciplined with your target’. I always get daft and go at pins I don’t need to be going at.

“I felt we did a great job of sticking to what we were planning to do. We visualised the shot and executed it. I felt I hit the majority of shots exactly the way I wanted to. It was almost the perfect round of golf for me.”

Golfers are forever cursing this, regretting that and mourning a bit of the other in this fickle old game. On the good days, though, you have to savour a job well done.

“I’m a big critic, I criticise myself as much as anyone will,” said MacIntyre. “But sometimes I bum myself up as well. As much as you have to beat yourself up sometimes, you have to pat yourself on the back and keep your chest out.”

After a sparkling 65, MacIntyre has plenty to be bullish about.