The DP World Tour event is being held at Rinkven International Golf Club in Antwerp and it’s the sort of test that Ramsay, one of the most accurate players on the circuit, relishes. The Edinburgh-based Aberdonian was pleased with his opening effort, a bogey-free three-under-par 68 that left him just four shots behind leader Simon Forsstrom from Sweden, and is feeling quietly confident that he can get himself in the mix come Sunday.
“I played really good,” said Ramsay as he reflected on an effort that contained birdies at the fifth, 11th and 13th. “I felt like I had chances on most holes and, on the ones I didn’t, I made a couple of nice up and downs to keep momentum. The only thing I didn’t do is putt that well. But I like the golf course, I like that it gives you options. It threatens you off the tee, there’s a few narrow holes out there. I love that. I love flighting drivers up and down, hitting draws or fades off the tee, rather than a nice open fairway and swinging from your boots.”
Ramsay, who landed his fourth title triumph in last year’s Cazoo Classic at Hillside, carded his score in the company of English duo Callum Shinkwin and Marcus Armitage. “It was a fun group and it feels like a proper tournament,” he added. “I like coming here, that’s why I added it to the schedule. The reason I’m here is the golf course and the general feel of it.”
While he enjoyed playing in recent events in both Japan and Korea, Ramsay is enjoying the DP World Tour hitting mainland Europe. “The chance to get back on a Sunday night and get out on a Tuesday morning is very welcome from a lot of guys, especially those with kids,” he said. “Also, that knowledge that sometimes you maybe just need to get back and see your coach for a day and figure it out. Golf is played in the mind a lot, sometimes when you’re out here you can be hitting balls aimlessly.
“You’ve got to do product practice and getting away from it and resting is just as important as doing all the hard work. Having people who know your swing, the fact you can get a flight back quickly and you’re not flying back from Korea to get a lesson – as much as I enjoyed going out to Japan and Korea, it was a cool experience.”
Forsstrom, the world No 429, was also bogey-free as he opened with a 64 to lead by a shot from a group that includes German Marcel Siem. Craig Howie (69) was next best after Ramsay among the Scots, followed by Connor Syme (70) while Marc Warren and Ewen Ferguson signed for matching 71s.
Elsewhere, it was a struggle for the Scots in the first round of the LET’s Jabra Ladies Open at Evian Resort in France as Dutch player Anne Van Dam set the pace with a six-under 65. Louise Duncan, who had a triple-bogey 7 on her card, fared best out of the Caledonian contingent with a 75, one better than Laura Beveridge.