SCOTLAND’S Scott Jamieson came agonisingly close to recording the first ever 59 on the European Tour as he charged into contention in the Portugal Masters yesterday.
Jamieson carded 11 birdies in the first 17 holes of his third round at Oceanico Victoria Golf Course and needed another on the last of the par-71 layout to break the magical 60 barrier.
However, his approach ran just over the green and his chip from around 15ft grazed the edge of the hole, the 29-year-old from Glasgow sinking to his knees before tapping in for par.
Jamieson had to settle for the 18th round of 60 in European Tour history and the second this season after American Peter Uihlein’s 12-under round at Kingsbarns during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Having only made the halfway cut by one shot, Jamieson found himself in the clubhouse lead on 14 under just as overnight leaders David Lynn, Paul Waring and Hennie Otto were heading to the first tee at 12 under.
And only Waring was able to overhaul Jamieson’s total, the Englishman recovering from a shaky start to card a 67 and claim a two-shot lead as he seeks his first European Tour title.
Jamieson actually shot a round of 57 before winning his first European Tour title in a play-off for the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa last December, but that was in a tournament cut to 36 holes and on a Royal Durban course reduced to a par-65 because of saturated fairways.
He told Sky Sports: “I said to Richard [Blair, his caddie] playing 17 I really want to make a birdie here so we have a chance of it going down the last and I could not have asked to hit a better shot in. It pitched just short of the hole...what a chip as well!
“When I birdied the 13th I said to Richard then ‘A few more and we could be part of history’. I was definitely nervous but thinking about it from the tournament point of view the leaders are going to be a minimum of 16, 17, maybe 18 under going into tomorrow so that kept me going from a pushing point of view.”
Jamieson, who carded an opening 66 but struggled to a 73 on Friday, added: “I played really well the first day and got nothing out of it. I was five under par but the longest putt I holed was maybe eight feet for par on one hole.
“I felt like I have been playing well for a while, a few good rounds in there. Yesterday [Friday] I didn’t necessarily play poorly, just didn’t score well so it was nice today.”
Waring, who is playing on a medical exemption this season after an operation on a serious wrist injury, looked to be drifting out of contention when he bogeyed the par-five fifth and then fired his approach to the ninth over the green.
But the 28-year-old from Birkenhead promptly chipped in for an unlikely birdie and collected four more on the back nine to move two shots clear of Jamieson, playing partner Hennie Otto, Ireland’s Simon Thornton and Welshman Jamie Donaldson.
“It was very good towards the end of the round,” said Waring, who enjoyed the first top-five finish of his European Tour career in the Spanish Open in April and has had three more top-tens since.
“I started a bit poorly and didn’t quite hit it close enough but holed some nice putts towards the end of the day.”
Asked if he was ready to claim a maiden victory today, Waring added: “I can’t really say. You don’t know what’s going to happen with the other lads, what anyone else is going to score. You can’t control those sorts of things.”
Scotland’s Chris Doak was three off the lead after dropping his first shot of the week on the 18th, the 35-year-old from Glasgow looking to climb from 112th on the Race to Dubai into the top 110 to keep his card for next season.