Richie Ramsay is already thinking like a father-to-be. “Pampers will be happy,” declared the Aberdonian after securing a chunky cheque with a top-20 finish in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship.
It was a good effort in his first outing since November, the three Middle East events being the only ones the Edinburgh-based 32-year-old is playing in at the start of the year.
That’s because his wife, Angela, is due to give birth to the couple’s first child next month, and Ramsay reckons a curtailed campaign has helped focus his mind before heading off to undertake nappy-changing duties.
“There is more of an impetus to play well early when you know are going to have a break and not playing a few of the events you normally would because of the baby,” he said after signing off with a 69 for an eight-under-par 280 total.
What made this first effort of the 2016 campaign all the more impressive was that a minor swing change he’d been working on with his coach, Ian Rae, paid off instantly.
“I’m really pleased with that,” added the three-time European Tour winner of finishing the best of four Scots to survive to the weekend in joint-16th.
“I’m trying to work on a swing move that’s a lot better and takes some stain off my back. Until you try it out under the gun, you never know if it’s going to pay off where it matters. This week it definitely worked with my shorts irons, but I struggled a bit with the long ones.
“For the first event of the year I saw glimpses of what was good in Turkey last year and also in the Race to Dubai final. To happen in the first event is strange, but I think it bodes well.”
Despite dropping his only shot of the last round at the eighth, his 17th, David Drysdale was pleased with a 69 for seven-under and share of 22nd. “This is probably my best effort here,” said the Cockburnspath man.
Closing with the same score on a day when he felt “tired” and had “sore feet”, Russell Knox finished two shots further back in 35th after a 69 - his best effort of the week.
“I finally started holing some putts,” said Knox of starting his last circuit with four birdies in five holes. “But it then came screeching to a pathetic halt.”
It was a last day of mixed fortunes for Scott Jamieson as he shot up the leaderboard with a 66 in completing his third round before slipping down it again with a 75 to end up joint-46th on four-under.