There were so many birdies being blasted on day two of the Turkish Airlines Open here at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, the RSPB were just about penning a letter of complaint.

In this crash, bang, wallop Turkey shoot, Robert MacIntyre was trigger-happy too, with a brilliantly assembled nine-under 63 which underlined his enormous talent, his growing stature and his wonderfully bold sense of adventure.

That barnstorming round, which was his lowest in relation to par this season and the lowest of his fledgling pro career, thrust the Oban tour rookie into contention again for a maiden title as he finished with a 10-under aggregate and was lurking just two shots behind the halfway leader, 
Matthias Schwab.

“I have probably produced my best ever round of golf out there,” said MacIntyre with the sizeable grin of a cat that hadn’t just got cream but had taken over the entire dairy.


The way he signed off his round on the ninth – he had started on the 10th tee – was the mark of a young man playing with confidence and carefree abandon. A thumping drive was then followed by a beautifully flighted 8-iron over the water and into a couple of feet. The resulting birdie putt was gobbled up with glee.

“I’m a big confidence player when the putter gets going and on the back nine the hole felt like a bucket,” he said of a round that was in stark contrast to his frustrating opening circuit where the putts refused to drop. He had just 23 putts in total yesterday.

“The putts I holed out there weren’t too long and I got lucky on the par-3 fifth,” MacIntyre added. “My putt was going like a steam train but it hit the back of the hole and went in. “I actually missed two good chances inside 12 feet, so it could have been really daft. But I can’t complain with a 63.”

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Playing alongside the former Masters champion, Patrick Reed, MacIntyre found a new gear on the back nine and outscored his illustrious partner by a couple of shots thanks to a splendid inward half of 29.

Reed, who was no slouch himself and shot a 65, was certainly impressed by MacIntyre’s majesty. “It was awesome to see,” said the US Ryder Cup player. “Thursday was kind of a struggle for both of us but to see him kind flip the switch today, especially on that back nine, and shoot 29 was special. He’s very young and clearly has a big career ahead of him.”

That blossoming career could feature the European Tour’s rookie of the year prize, an award that was last won by a Scot, Marc Warren, in 2006. At ninth on the Race to Dubai, MacIntyre is in pole position to plunder that particular prize with American Kurt Kitayama his nearest rival at No.14. Kitayama sits three shots behind MacIntyre in the Turkish standings but the Scot is just focusing on his own processes and progress.

“The rookie of the year award is just another challenge and it pushes you on,” he said. “I saw after about five holes that Kurt was four-under for the round and leading. I said to my caddie, ‘let’s get things going here’.”

After three second-place finishes this season, MacIntyre continues to knock on the door. “I don’t know how to win yet out here but I’ve just got to keep doing what I’ve been doing all season,” he said of making that final step into the winners’ enclosure. “If I keep playing how I am at the moment, it is bound to happen.”

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At the head of the field, Schwab, who has four top-five finishes in 
his last eight starts, cemented his place at the top with a 67 for a 12-under tally. The 24-year-old Austrian, who shared the overnight lead, found 
the water on the ninth but made a good putt of around 20-feet to salvage his par.  That provided the catalyst for a four-under back nine which left him a shot clear of Ross Fisher, Thomas Detry, Danny Willett and Alex Noren.

“That putt on nine kept it going and we need to keep the foot on the pedal as pars will not be good enough this weekend,” he said of the low scoring.

Justin Rose, aiming to win the Turkish title for a third year in a row, kept himself in the mix with a 67 for 10-under while Glasgow’s Scott Jamieson made six birdies on the back nine in a battling 68 to finish on the nine-under mark.