Richie Ramsay has eye on Dubai as he sparkles at St Andrews

Richie Ramsay tees off at the fifth on his way to tenth place. Picture: SNS.
Richie Ramsay tees off at the fifth on his way to tenth place. Picture: SNS.
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Richie Ramsay has the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in his sights after transforming his year with back-to-back top-ten finishes on the European Tour.

The 36-year-old wasn’t even in the field for either the BMW PGA Championship or Alfred Dunhill Links Championship just over a fortnight ago, but talk about grabbing an opportunity with both hands.

Tying for sixth in the circuit’s flagship event at Wentworth had lifted him to 62nd in the Race to Dubai, effectively securing his spot in the Turkish Airlines Open, the first of three Rolex Series events at the end of the season.

He has now added the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa to his schedule after backing that up with a share of tenth spot in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, signing off with a birdie in a closing 68 on the Old Course at St Andrews.

“Sets up the year very well for me,” he admitted after jumping to 55th, having taken his earnings for the last two weeks to around £250,000. “It’s one step at a time. Turkey was last week and the goal this week was to get into Nedbank. Now Dubai is my goal and give [daughter] Olivia a holiday there.”

Needing to climb into the top 50 to achieve that target, Ramsay is sitting out this week’s Spanish Open before aiming to keep his roll going in the Italian Open, another Rolex Series event. “So cool to play well at St Andrews as it’s a great place,” he said. “After a seven-week run, I’m looking to spend some family time and will then get back to it sort of on the weekend before Italy, which is another big week.”

On his debut in the event, Russell Knox (69) finished joint 15th while fellow debutants Bob MacIntyre (70) and Calum Hill (72) ended in a share of 26th. “A little bit of a sad finish,” said Knox of dropping a shot at the 17th then being unable to close with a birdie. “But I thought I played excellent and really enjoyed it.”

Despite climbing two spots to 11th in the Race to Dubai, MacIntyre was “disappointed” with a closing effort that included a lost ball at the 
par-5 fifth while Hill said he’d had a “rubbish start” and “rubbish finish” to his round.

Scott Jamieson (69) finished joint 46th, with Grant Forrest (74) ending up tied for 56th.