SCOTT Jamieson followed the philosophy of course designer Jack Nicklaus to secure a share of the lead after the opening round of the M2M Russian Open on the outskirts of Moscow.
In the first event of the 2016 Ryder Cup qualifying campaign, the 31-year-old Glaswegian carded a flawless six-under-par 65 at Skolkovo Golf Club to set the pace along with Australian Daniel Gaunt.
Having started his round at the tenth, Jamieson carded six birdies – including four in a row at the beginning of his back nine – before almost adding another one as he narrowly missed with a monster putt at the ninth.
“That was looking good but it was just a relief to see it settle just a foot from the hole as it’s a tough hole today into the wind,” he said after his lowest effort since carding the same score in the third round of the Lyoness Open in June, where he finished joint 11th – his best performance of the season.
Jamieson, who is lying 98th in the Race to Dubai, praised the condition of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course and also said he’d played it by the book. “It’s flawless, probably the best conditions we’ve seen all year. There’s hardly a blade of grass out of place anywhere across the whole estate so it’s a pleasure to come and play,” said the 2013 Nelson Mandela Championship winner.
“It’s probably a typical Nicklaus course. There’s a bit of room off the tee but you have to be really careful with your approach shots to the greens. If you get slightly out of position it can get really tough so I’m trying to follow Jack’s philosophy of middle of the green and take it from there. I actually feel you have to play away from the flags sometimes. It’s quite an unnatural thing to do, but that’s the way to approach it.”
Jamieson looked set to lead on his own until Gaunt birdied two of his last three holes as he recovered well from a double-bogey at the 15th. “It was a good bounce back,” admitted the 36-year-old. “Apart from the 15th, I played great golf today and started with a load of one-putts.”
On a crowded leaderboard, Englishman Lee Slattery and Welshman Bradley Dredge are one stroke back while Craig Lee, who signed for five birdies, and defending champion David Horsey are among a large group on four-under. David Drysdale, with a flawless 68, is the only other Scot in the top 50.
Elsewhere, Kris Nicol stormed into contention for a maiden win on the PGA EuroPro Tour after backing up his opening 66 with a 67 in the HotelPlanner.com Championship at Princes in Kent. The Fraserburgh man, who is attached to the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, has played 36 holes without dropping a shot and sits joint second, one behind Englishman Darren Wright, heading into the final round.
On the Ladies European Tour, Kylie Walker opened her title bid in the Helsingborg Open with a three-under 70 to sit in a share of third, two shots behind Nicole Broch Larsen from Denmark. On 71, Carly Booth also has the leader in her sights.