SCOTT Jamieson has been cranking up his game since becoming a father for the first time earlier this year.
His last four events have resulted in an improved finish each time and now he is on course to keep that going after a promising start in The Championship in Singapore.
The 30-year-old’s eight-under -par 64 at Laguna National secured a share of second behind Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat on a day when play was suspended following an hour-long delay caused by lightning.
Jamieson captured his maiden European Tour title last season in the Nelson Mandela Championship, an event that was reduced to 36 holes because of bad weather.
Not that they should but, if anyone is using that to question the Scot’s status as a Tour winner, then he is happy to prove them wrong and show he has the staying power to win over 72 holes as well.
“You want to win every week but it would be nice if the next one was over four rounds, and if anyone had any questions then it would answer them, although I don’t feel that way myself, given that I won in South Africa in a play-off,” he said.
“I have been hitting the ball well for the past few weeks since I came to Asia, so it was good to get a round where it all came together. I had a lot of looks at birdies and eight-under is a fantastic start after I capitalised on my chances. Golfers strive for perfection so it’s always going to feel like you’ve left something out there but, generally, I am pleased.”
Jamieson, who bagged nine birdies in total, added: “There was just one mistake with my three-putt on 16, but it was pretty far away and pace putting is always difficult in Asia with the grain, as it’s not what someone coming from Scotland is used to.”
Pittayarat, who has missed four cuts on the bounce on the co-sanctioning Asian Tour, shrugged off that poor form to also record nine birdies as the 21-year-old held the clubhouse lead ahead of Jamieson, American David Lipsky, Korea’s Kim Byung-jun and Quincy Quek of Singapore.
Pittayarat, given the nickname “coconut” by his father who is also his caddie, required only 22 putts.
“I was very happy with how I played. I didn’t see it coming,” he said, before explaining his fruity name. “It’s common to have nicknames back home in Thailand,” he added. “I have got a brother nicknamed ‘tamarind’ and a sister named ‘lemon’.”
Richie Ramsay was one of 18 players still to complete their first rounds when play was suspended following the aforementioned weather delay.
The Aberdonian will resume this morning at one-over-par with two to play in the chase for a top prize of £150,000 in an event that was moved from South Korea after losing Ballantines as its sponsor.
The change of venue did not seem to suit Peter Whiteford. Joint second 12 months ago, when he lost to Brett Rumford in a play-off, the Fifer opened with a 76 to sit well down the field.
David Drysdale is the next best placed Scot after Jamieson, in a share of 26th at four-under-par following a solid 68. Marc Warren is a shot behind in joint 48th and Jamie McLeary also broke par with his 71.
Craig Lee is level par, but, after his encouraging effort in China last week, Chris Doak was brought back down to earth by a 75.
Alexander Levy, winner of last week’s Volvo China Open, recovered from a triple-bogey 7 on his fourth hole to post a two-under-par 70.