When you’re looking to produce a final flourish, the last thing you need is a first hole fiasco. “I thought it was the perfect wedge,” said Robert MacIntyre of his flicked approach to the opening green on day four of The Open Championship. “But I got the first bad spin I’ve had here in seven days and it went back into the burn. I was absolutely gobsmacked by it. I actually thought it was going to be a tap-in birdie and then it ends up in the water.”

That plunge into the Swilcan Burn cost MacIntyre two shots as he started his closing circuit of the Old Course with a double-bogey six. Like a panel beater thumping out the dents on a damaged car, though, MacIntyre got to work and produced a fine repair job. A couple of eagles put the polish on a spirited four-under 68 for a seven-under aggregate.

This may not have been as spectacular as his top-10 finishes in the last two Opens but it was still a sturdy showing in golf’s oldest major over a course that he still struggles to get to grips with.

“It's not a golf course that I've got great memories of,” he said. “I've struggled on it at the St Andrews Links Trophy and in the Dunhill. Obviously I was trying to win this week but I didn’t have too much expectation. I just can't see the scores that are getting shot. But it's horses for courses and this may not be one for me just now.”

Despite this lack of affinity, MacIntyre still left his mark on the old links and took flight with those two eagles. A bold, hooked approach into the par-5 fifth came to rest about 15-feet from the hole and he knocked it in for a three while he trundled in a 40-footer on the 12th for a two after driving the green.

“After what had happened on the first, I took the reins off and just went at it and it paid off,” he added of his gung-ho offensive.

It’s onwards to the next event for MacIntyre with a trip down to Southport for this week’s Cazoo Classic at a venue that suits him more than the Old Course. The lovely links of Hillside was the site of his first runners-up finish on the European circuit during his rookie year in 2019. “That's the reason I'm playing it,” he said. “It doesn't fit in the schedule perfectly. But it's a golf course I've got great memories of. It's a place I like. We'll go down there and give it our best shot.”

After a sobering 77 during round three, David Law signed off with a three-under 69 to get back into the red with a one-under tally. That five-over card on Saturday was a sore one to stomach but the Aberdonian found a way to ease the belly aching.

“On the Saturday night, we went out for a curry and a few beers,” said the 31-year-old. “After that 77, it was probably what was needed to take my mind off it and relax a bit. I was determined to go out in the final round and enjoy it.”

After a big fortnight at the Scottish Open and The Open, Law will take it easy this week before returning to St Andrews next week for the Hero Open at the Fairmont resort.

“Hopefully these last few weeks are a stepping stone to being in contention and trying to win again on tour,” added Law, who finished fourth in the Hero Open a year ago.