ROBERT MacIntyre stormed into the Porsche European Open lead, firing a flawless seven-under par 65 to take a four-stroke advantage into the weekend after the second round in Hamburg.
The 23-year-old, who started the day two strokes behind 18-hole leader Paul Casey, carded the low round of the week so far at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
The Scotsman recorded three birdies on the front nine, which he matched as he came in, capping his round with his seventh gain of the day on the 18th hole.
MacIntyre, who played for Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club two years ago, said: “I just stuck to my game plan – it’s probably the best I’ve driven the ball this year.
“It’s not just going straight, it’s going miles. I don’t know what I’m doing but it’s working, and I’ll try and continue to do it,” added the Scot, who hails from Oban.
“I’ve changed quite a few things over the season to improve. Dave, my coach, is on the bag this week, he’s doing a great job off the course when I’m at home and doing the right things. It’s great to see the reward.
“It’s going to be tough, especially when it’s the first time that I’ve got such a lead – whether on the Challenge Tour or here on the European Tour – I’ll have to learn from this experience.
“I’m doing the right things on the course and the right things off the course, I’m nice and relaxed,” added MacIntyre, who was beaten in the final of the 2016 Amateur Championship by Hampshire’s Scott Gregory, who made a rare cut this week after a season of struggle for the Corhampton player, who was also a Walker Cup team-mate of the tournament leader in LA, in 2017.
“Everything at home has been brilliant, so I’m in the right mindset for going out this weekend.”
A runner-up on two occasions in his rookie season – at the Betfred British Masters and Made in Denmark in back-to-back weeks in May – this is the first time MacIntyre has held an overnight lead on the European Tour.
Leading the chasing park is Germany’s Bernd Ritthammer, who delighted the home crowds with a six-under par round of 66 to get to seven-under after 36 holes.
Ritthammer said: “I’ve had a slow season so far, it’s been tough. I’ve been working hard and not really getting any results.
“Friday for me normally has something to do with fighting the cut – I was very pleased with how I played yesterday, only one-under, but conditions were pretty brutal in the morning. That was as good as today.
“I got off to a good start and felt like I was flushing the ball, felt like it was going where I wanted to go,” added the player looking for his maiden European Tour victory.
“The putter really warmed up and I made some incredible par saves and really good birdie putts. I didn’t expect it to be that easy today, I just played really well.”
Ritthammer is two strokes ahead of the trio of Casey, Italian Guido Migliozzi and Austrian Matthias Schwab.
Bernd Wiesberger and Alexander Björk share sixth place on four-under, while German Dominic Foos is one of six players a stroke further back in eighth.
•For live scores in the third round click here.