Ewen Ferguson’s ‘tattie’ hadn’t been rolling well at all recently. In fact, he’d putted so poorly in an opening 73 on Thursday that it left him in a “bad mood”, the extent of which was reflected by him failing to reply to a text from his dad, Mark.
Ferguson, who landed his maiden DP World Tour triumph in the Qatar Masters earlier in the year, woke up on Friday not feeling confident about even being around for the weekend on the Fife coast but talk about being transformed overnight.
Holing everything he looked at, the 26-year-old Bearsden man catapulted himself up the leaderboard with a brilliant 11-under-par 61, which trimmed two shots off the course record set less than 24 hours earlier by American Sean Crocker. South African Wilco Nienaber eagled the last later in the day to match Ferguson’s score.
Ferguson and Crocker enjoyed a night out in the Glasgow area last weekend before then finding themselves in the same group for the opening rounds. The banter between the pair was golf at its best after Crocker’s course record proved short-lived.
“It is pretty cool,” said Ferguson of his scoring feat, which saw him make six birdies on the spin as he raced to the turn in 29 before adding four gains on the inward journey. “I’ve never shot 11-under before. My best score in a tournament was eight-under and in a medal as an amateur nine-under.”
The spectacular turnaround was down to his Fife-based coach, Jamie Gough, the younger brother of former Scotland and Rangers defender Richard. His main strength may be swing technique, but he also knows his stuff when it comes to short-game skills.
“I played incredible and putted a lot better than I have been,” admitted Ferguson, who sits five behind leader Crocker after he added a 66 to his opening 63. “I’ve been working on that a lot with my dad and Gougie to try and get the stroke right because the tempo was out.
“I still couldn’t get it then I woke up this morning feeling knackered and with not much hope because the scoring had been so low. But Goughie came up to me with a piece of string that he put on the ground and told me to start hitting putts.
“I kept pulling it and he was telling me ‘you are aiming left’ and I could see the line on my putter was aiming left. So he got me to put my hands forward and, though I felt it was abnormal, he took a video and I could see it actually looked normal and I started banging them.”
Scott Jamieson has banged in his fair share of putts in the opening two rounds, sitting one behind Crocker after scores of 66-64, both bogey-free.
“Yesterday was a good start, would never turn my nose up at six under, but it felt like I’d left a lot out there,” he said. “Today was better, I took advantage of some chances.”
David Law, who sits one further back, had seven birdies and two bogeys on his front nine en route to a 66, one more than his opening effort.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done that before,” he admitted of having to wait until the tenth to sign for his first par of the day.
As the cut fell at six-under after two low-scoring days, defending champion Grant Forrest dug deep to make it through on five-under but last week’s Cazoo Classic winner Richie Ramsay agonisingly missed out by a shot after making two birdies in the last three holes.