Golf just keeps on giving
Updated: Feb 23
Golf is the sport that just keeps giving. Ask Scotland’s Euan McIntosh.
The 50-year-old Scot has qualified for this year’s Staysure Tour, the European Senior Tour, after finishing joint second in the Staysure Tour Qualifying School final at Pestana Golf Resort in Portugal.
Not a bad way to end his amateur career – for the second time.
McIntosh secured his senior status thanks to rounds of 68, 66, 71 and 67 to finish joint second on 12-under 272 with Canada’s David Morland IV. They were two shots behind winner Michael Long of New Zealand. England’s Andrew Raitt took the fourth card, while Carl Suneson of Spain earned the fifth and final card.
McIntosh was the only one of five amateurs in the 81-man field to earn a card. Can he make a better fist of this stint as a professional than he did last time around?
The man from Turnhouse Golf Club in Edinburgh didn’t fare too well the last time he was in the pro ranks. He made four unsuccessful trips to the European Tour Qualifying School. The closest he came to the main tour was playing the 2003 Challenge Tour, but he finished 134th on the money list with just €5,14750 in earnings.
He tried his hand in Asia and played as much as he could in Scotland but ended up quitting tournament golf altogether. He spent years working in the industry and decided to get his amateur status back to play competitive golf in preparation for the Staysure Tour.
McIntosh surprised the amateur world in 2018 when he won the Scottish Amateur Championship. The then 49-year-old became tournament’s oldest winner since the late Charlie Green beat some guy called John Huggan by one hole in the 1983 final at Gullane.
That Scottish Amateur victory got him a place in the 2019 GB&I Walker Cup squad. McIntosh was 23 years older than the next oldest player in the squad.
Although he didn’t make the 10-man team that lost at Royal Liverpool last year, McIntosh added a few titles in the unpaid ranks to prove he could compete with the young guns. Last year he won the Tennant Cup and successfully defended his North East Open win. In 2018 he won the Leven Gold Medal.
Whether McIntosh wins anything on the Staysure Tour remains to be seen. Success at Q School is one thing, beating guys he couldn’t beat 20 years ago is another.
England’s John Kemp won his card at the 2018 Q School after a successful amateur career. Kemp played in two Open Championships as an amateur even though he couldn’t play a proper amateur schedule due to holding down a full-time job – he was a true amateur, not a semi-professional amateur – but could still hold his own amongst the top unpaid players.
Kemp finished 56th on the 2018 money list. He was back at the Q School this year but missed the 54-hole cut.
Watching McIntosh’s progress this year is going to be interesting. Can he take advantage of the greatest mulligan in a game that just keeps on giving?