Nairn's Jamie MacKintosh takes pride in playing Amateur Championships over his home course
NAIRN’S Jamie MacKintosh took pride in playing in front of a home crowd despite an early exit from the R & A Boys Amateur Championships.
MacKintosh’s first round of three-over par was hampered by seven dropped shots on his home course. Two birdies reduced the damage somewhat and an eagle-two at the 15th ensured he finished Tuesday’s opening round with a 75.
Wednesday’s conditions at Nairn Dunbar were trickier for the 18-year-old, who battled strong winds all day. He knew he was playing catch-up from the day before but was still only a shot behind the projected cut.
The going was more difficult and MacKintosh finished his round six shots further back, finishing on nine-over for the tournament and missing out on the matchplay stages.
He leaves the tournament in a positive frame of mind however, after playing on his home course and having friends see his memorable eagle-two at the 15th on Tuesday.
“I had a few boys walk around with me. They saw me putt a 55-yard eagle (15th at Nairn on Tuesday) and went wild. It was great to see them out there,” said Mackintosh. “I drove to the back right of the green and I was just aiming for a birdie. I hit it right on the face of the bunker and missed the one short of the green. It was the highlight of my tournament.
“For them all to come out in the afternoon and watch me is something I’m not used to. I’m just used to playing medals on my home course.
“I should have been one or two-under after Tuesday. I had six three-putts and that cost me. The conditions weren’t great; the gust was straight and would come through on your back-swing. A few guys had to stop mid-swing. The ball was oscillating on the green and it makes it almost impossible to putt with the ball wobbling on the green.”
A field of 252 boys under 18, drawn from 28 different countries, teed off over the Nairn and Nairn Dunbar golf courses on Tuesday and Wednesday, in a first-time staging in the north of the championship.
Due to a low handicap cut-off only two north boys got into the draw: the North of Scotland boy’s champion Matty Wilson from Forres and Nairn’s MacKintosh, leaving several others on a waiting list hoping for a late call-up into a competition that launched the career of former world number one Rory McIlroy and other previous winners, including Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Scotland’s Darren Howie headed the leaderboard going into the matchplay stages, after an opening eight-under at Nairn and a par-72 at Dunbar. The final takes place at Nairn this weekend.
For MacKintosh, next up is the North District Matchplay at Castle Stuart, as he plots his future in the sport.
“I was thinking about going to America but I’ve decided to try Stirling University instead,” he said.
“It’s one of the best universities for golf. I was a B short of getting in last year, so I’ve been doing a HNC at Inverness College. I made the decision to try get my handicap down.”