Scott Jamieson, who produced his best start in eight months to be flying high on the Turkish Airlines Open leaderboard, is aiming to turn an “average” European Tour career into something special over the next decade.
Next year will mark the Florida-based Scot’s tenth successive season on the circuit, having won the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa in 2012, finished as high as 26th in the Race to Dubai two years ago and racked up career earnings of just over €5 million.
“I will be proud I have been out here for ten years,” said Jamieson after carding a five-under-par 67 at Montgomerie Maxx Royal to sit just two shots off the lead in the Rolex Series event in Belek, where he joined compatriot Richie Ramsay (68) in producing a pleasing day’s work.
“But then it is a dangerous one as do you want to be proud of being out here on Tour for ten years? We are at the echelon of all the golfers, but do you want to be out here and just be average? No, I don’t.
“I am not one to want to rest on my laurels. Yes, I have been out here ten years and it’s a pat on the back as I have to recognise it is a hell of a lot more years than your average guy who makes it on to the Tour.
“But I would like to think, and being 35-years old, that when I am in my mid-40s I should still be competing with the game’s best, so hopefully I still have another ten years to try and be as good as I can be.”
In idyllic conditions on the Mediterranean coast, Jamieson birdied three of his last four holes as he opened with his best effort since the Oman Open in March to sit joint-fourth behind Englishman Tom Lewis and Austrian Matthias Schwab.
“It was very unlike me out there today,” said the Glaswegian of an effort that left him alongside Justin Rose, who is bidding to win this event for the third year in a row, as well as former Masters champion Danny Willett.
“Everything was just all neat and tidy and I managed more than my share of fairways than I normally do while the rest was pretty solid.”
After a strong start to the campaign, the remainder has not been what he was looking for “My season has been pretty average,” Jamieson added.
“I’ve not hit the ball good, but then I have chipped and putted extraordinary. I have been working really hard on my game and it has to change at some point and today was a nice start. My ball flight was a different flight and a different shape to what I have been used to seeing, so we’ll see what the next three days bring.”
On a day that saw Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington run up a quintuple-bogey 10 at the fourth after finding the water three times, Ramsay finished with four straight birdies, the pick of which was set up by a chip and run with an 8-iron from 110 yards to avoid two low-hanging trees on the 17th.
“I feel a little bit under the weather as I’ve got a bit of the sniffles going but, apart from that, everything is good,” said the Aberdonian, who has recorded three top-ten finishes in his last four events. “I hung in there on some holes and putted well at the end. It was one of those rounds where four-under was the best score it could have been, which is nice because sometimes I shoot one-under in that type of round.
“I was working on my putting with Ian Rae [his long-time coach] on the carpet upstairs in The Renaissance Club when it was raining. We had a hole down on the carpet and he said that consistency wise, the stroke was the best he’d seen it so I took a lot of positives from that.”
Bob MacIntyre had a frustrating day on the greens as he had to settle for a 71, one less than David Drysdale, the fourth Scot in the field. “You’re tapping down a lot of spike marks all over the place, so it becomes difficult to trust them,” said MacIntyre of the putting surfaces. “You have the line, but I couldn’t get the pace. I didn’t three-putt at all last week and I come here and it feels like I’m doing it every second hole.
“For it to be my bad round, one-under is not bad. It could’ve been a disaster at the turn. Hopefully I can get out on some fresher greens a bit earlier tomorrow.”