The two-time DP World Tour winner almost holed his second shot for an albatross at the 18th at Muthaiga Golf Club in the penultimate circuit in the £2 million event.
Agonisingly, he then missed from eight feet for a second eagle on the back nine, having already rolled in a curling 15-footer at the tenth to move into the lead.
But, nonetheless, a sixth birdie of the round moved the Oban left-hander to 12-under, one behind Jorge Campillo after the Spaniard finished with four straight birdies to card a best-of-the-day 63.
“Yeah, it was good,” said MacIntyre of his day’s work. “Same again,” he added. “Pretty good off the tee and approach play has been the strength the last wee while and it’s good to see some putts go in. Overall, game is in decent shape.”
According to a world rankings expert, MacIntyre needs to win this event to have a chance of getting into the upcoming WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and, in turn, keep alive his hopes of making a third successive appearance in The Masters.
He’s set up a chance to add to title triumphs in the Cyprus Showdown in 2020 and Italian Open last year and reckons the biggest difference for him this week compared to his five previous starts in 2023 has been the putting.
“Yeah, it’s great,” he said of his performance so far on the greens. “It’s been something that’s been holding me back, but the last few days I’m seeing it go in and I’m feeling really comfortable over putts right now. For me, that’s the biggest thing, getting back feeling comfortable.
“I’m standing a wee bit different than I used to, but it’s feeling good in the hands and, when it’s feeling good in the hands, it’s easier to judge speed.”
The Ryder Cup hopeful was left with just a wedge for his second shot at the18th after a booming drive at the 534-yard par 5. “I didn’t have a clue,” he admitted of how close it had come to going in.
“I got a bit lucky,” he added, smiling. “Mike [Thomson, his caddie) was adamant, saying ‘stay in the middle of the green’. But I had a wedge in my hand and I’m not backing away from a pin with a wedge in my hand. It’s the way I play golf and it was just good to see it close.”
Campillo, a two-time winner, moved to the head of affairs with a bogey-free effort, with Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and South African Jayden Schaper his closest challengers after MacIntyre.
Craig Howie shot a 70 to sit just outside the top ten on eight-under, two better than Grant Forrest after a 67 that contained six birdies. Ewen Ferguson (69) and Calum Hill (73) are both on five-under, with Connor Syme (71) two shots further back.