Bob MacIntyre 'delighted' to be leading new Cyprus Showdown

While it's not a week where you necessarily want to peak too soon, Bob MacIntyre was "delighted" to set the pace in the European Tour's ground-breaking Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown.

Bob Macintyre reacts on the 18th green after carding a six-under-par 65 in the first round to lead the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Bob Macintyre reacts on the 18th green after carding a six-under-par 65 in the first round to lead the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Taking up where he left off when finishing joint-third in the Cyprus Open at the same venue on Sunday, the 24-year-old from Oban finished birdie-birdie as he carded a bogey-free six-under-par 65.

Back playing the majestic golf that saw him crowned as the circuit's Rookie of the Year last season, MacIntyre is now an accumulative 24-under-par for five rounds at the picturesque Paphos course.

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He leads by a shot from no less than seven players, including 2014 Ryder Cup match-winner Jamie Donaldson and Frenchman Romain Langasque, who won the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie in 2015.

Grant Forrest tees off on the second hole in the first round of the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown in Paphos. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Under the event's unique format, the top 32 and ties after the second round will progress to Saturday's third circuit then 16 to Sunday's final round, with scores being reset both times.

"I'm delighted," said MacIntyre as he reflected on a round that included birdies at the second, sixth, eighth and 13th before the brace to finish.

"Again I played great golf. A few mishits off the tee, but it’s one of those golf courses where I can open my shoulders a little bit more and give it a little bit extra.

"I’m rolling the putter great. I missed a few putts that were still shaving the edges of holes but, overall, it was a good round of golf."

On the task ahead, the left-hander added: "I’m trying to lead every round of golf that I play - and I’m leading after today. Hopefully lead after tomorrow and once it’s back to level, again you want to win every day. That’s my approach this week.

"It’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow with the weather coming in. I’ll just take it a day at a time."

As well as finding this course is "suiting my eye", the Scot is reaping the rewards of his equipment manufacturer, TaylorMade, getting him dialled again with his irons.

"The new irons are brilliant," he said, having used them for the first time last week as he recorded his best finish this season. "I'm hitting numbers. At Wentworth (in the BMW PGA Championship last month), we weren’t hitting numbers and, before that, the lofts kept going stronger and we were struggling.

"Now we’ve got new irons everything is perfect and my golf is showing that there was something wrong. To have fixed that has been a big help."Donaldson, who led last week heading into the final round before finishing alongside MacIntyre, came home in 31 as he got off to another promising start.

Finn Sami Valimaki, who won the Oman Open earlier in the year, is also in the group on five-under, as are Swedish duo Joakim Lagergren and Rikard Karlberg, Belgian Thomas Detry and China's Ashun Wu.

Despite being "disappointed" to drop three shots in two holes on the back nine, Grant Forrest carded a three-under 69 to also be on course to be involved in the shootout stage. "I’m in a good position going into tomorrow," said Forrest.

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