Robert MacIntyre withdraws from title defence in Rome

Defending champion Robert MacIntyre was forced out of the DS Automobiles Italian Open due to injury ahead of Friday’s second round.

The news was announced by MacIntyre’s management company less than an hour before the left-hander was due to tee off alongside home favourite Guido Migliozzi and Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard.

MacIntyre himself then wrote on social media: “Gutted to withdraw this morning from the @ItalianOpen with a back strain.

“Hopefully nothing too serious. Now for a week of rest before the PGA Championship.”

MacIntyre had carded an opening two-over-par 73 at Marco Simone Golf Club on the outskirts of Rome, the venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.

The 26-year-old defeated US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick in a play-off to win his second DP World Tour title last September.

MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole after he and Fitzpatrick had finished tied on 14 under par.

That was just the second qualifying event for the Ryder Cup, although MacIntyre has since fallen outside the automatic places.