Gran Canaria sunshine helps bring out the best in 'soft' Scott Jamieson
Florida-based Scott Jamieson is more used to sun than snow these days and duly found Gran Canaria much more to his liking for a European Tour event than Austria last week.
Seven days after struggling to an opening 79 and, subsequently, an early exit in bitterly cold conditions in the Austrian Open, the big Scot carded a six-under-par 64 in the first round of the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.
The bogey-free effort, which saw him come home in 30, at Meloneras Golf left Jamieson sitting joint-fifth, just one shot off the lead, in the opening event on a new Canary Islands Swing.
“I’m sure I’ve gone soft now I live in America,” joked the 37-year-old, who moved to Florida with his wife and young family three-and-a-half years ago and commutes across the Atlantic to play on his home circuit.
“I took a bunch of clothes off from last week and it feels like I can move. I’ve never been that cold on a golf course. I struggled to turn.
“One of my tendencies is to move my arms too much and not my body. So, when you have more clothes on and it’s that cold, it’ll encourage you to turn less – so it’s not for me.”
In weather a bit more like Florida, Jamieson birdied the 14th and 18th after starting at the tenth before picking up shots at the first, fourth, sixth and eighth holes on his impressive inward journey.
“I was a little slow out the gates, but on the back nine I hit some nice wedge shots, which made life a little easier – I wasn’t able to do that on the front nine,” he said.
On a course where a 59 or even better has been predicted, four players opened with 63s - Dutchman Joost Luiten, who aced the 15th, Dane Joachim B Hansen, Germany’s Max Kieffer and Frenchman Robin Roussel.
“I think scoring will be low but, personally, I don’t think it’ll be crazy low because the greens are really firm,” said Jamieson. “Sure, every day there’s a couple of guys who go real low, but I don’t see 59-58.”
More of what he produced in his opening effort should give the Glaswegian a good chance of backing up his 2012 Nelson Mandela Championship win.
“The last couple of years I’ve been playing pretty good and become consistent,” he said. “Maybe not the big finishes to turn a solid season into a good one or a great one. I’ve got to keep doing it over four rounds and get some big finishes.”
Rafa Cabrera Bello, the local favourite and tournament host, was disappointed to finish with his only dropped shot but is already handily-placed on five-under, as is Eddie Pepperell.
“I am missing a big crowd, but I am feeling the support,” said Cabrera Bello, the 2017 Scottish Open champion, of the event, the first to be staged on his home island since 2002, being played behind closed doors. “Some of the holes close to the road had people cheering which was cool.”
After being four-under early on the back nine, Calum Hill had to settle for a two-under 68, the same score posted by David Drysdale. Grant Forrest and Richie Ramsay.
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