Richie Ramsay on Belfry blow: It hurts more because it's in Britain

It really hurt Richie Ramsay for two reasons. Firstly, daughter Olivia wasn’t around when he landed title triumphs in South Africa, Switzerland and Morocco and he desperately wanted to finish off the job in the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry on Sunday for her.

“I thought a little bit about Olivia coming down the last,” admitted the 38-year-old as he reflected on potential joy as he stood in the middle of the fairway at the 18th on the Brabazon Course holding the lead turning to anguish as a poor second shot that found water in front of the green leading to an untimely double-bogey 6.

That left Ramsay having to settle for a share of third spot alongside one of his compatriots, Connor Syme, as victory went instead to Thorbjorn Olesen after the Dane finished eagle-birdie for the second day running at the four-time Ryder Cup venue.

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“Because it’s in Britain, it hurts more,” admitted Ramsay of that second reason why it had been disappointing to be in a position where he felt quietly confident about getting over the line for the first time on the DP World Tour since 2015 only to end up close to tears.

Richie Ramsay hits his costly second shot at the 18th hole in the final round of the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at The Belfry. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

Over the four days in an event hosted for the second year running by Danny Willett, the Edinburgh-based Aberdonian produced some of the best golf of his career on a demanding course.

As has always been the case, Ramsay rarely missed a fairway and also found lots of greens in regulation while, for the most part on this particular occasion, chipped and putted well, too.

If he’d been nervous playing the last, he probably wouldn’t have split the fairway. Even then, though, that left him with 220 yards for his second, which he described as a “horrible” yardage due to the fact it left him swithering over a 4-iron or a utility club.

Having hit a sweet second with the latter to set up a birdie at the par-5 17th, he went with that again only to get it all wrong on this occasion and end up feeling as though he’d suffered the “biggest kick in the teeth of my career”.

A dejected Richie Ramsay leaves the 18th green at the Sutton Coldfield venue on Sunday after having to settle for a share of third spot with fellow Scot Connor Syme. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Had it proved harder to take at this stage in his career? “I’m at whatever hole it is in my career, definitely the back nine, and I don’t have all that many holes left to make up for it,” he admitted. “I’ve done well in the British Masters previously and I did all the right things on this occasion - I just didn’t execute that last shot.

“I didn’t sleep a wink on Sunday night and I can sleep with the best of them! Maybe when things calm down, I might look at things differently, but, with that one shot, I just got the ball too far up in the stance due to the fact I was trying to stop it turning over.

“You always need a bit of luck to win and, when I’ve won in the past, I definitely felt I had a wee bounce here and there that helped. I felt like I didn’t get that on Sunday. If I’d hit it in the bunker at the last, I would have had a chance to make a par or a 5 at worst.”

As consolation, it was easily his best performance this season, having been worth just under £96,000. He also climbed 64 spots to 324th in the world rankings. It wasn’t to be on this occasion, but that fourth win could still be on the cards soon.

“My chipping was good this week - I’d say that was the biggest difference,” said Ramsay, who is attached to The Renaissance Club. “I drive it well pretty much every week. Not to sound arrogant about it, but I do and my irons are always solid and mentally I’m normally quite good.

“You just need to hole a few putts and get it up and down to keep momentum and I was matching the best score of the day going down the last, so there‘s a lot to take from that. But it’s a bit misty at the moment. There’s light out there, but I can’t see it at the moment.”

During the tournament, Ramsay, who takes a keen interest in course architecture, had talked about the possibility of bringing down the curtain on his playing career at the end of next year.

“Not really,” he replied to being asked if this promising performance had changed that. Is that plan to actually step away from the game? “I don’t know,” added the former US Amateur champion.

“It depends on three things for me and some other outside factors. It depends on whether I’m competitive because I ain’t playing when I’m not competitive because it’s just not right, I don’t think, and that would tear me up more.

“If my body is in the right shape and if I’m mentally 100 per cent in because, whatever I do, I have to be 100 per cent mentally into it. There’s a couple of other things outside that are reasons why I may stop. I just want the option.

“I remember listening to Owen Hargreaves and he said that he’d moved to Manchester United and played X number of games and then it was all over.

“I think Paul Scholes was sitting beside him and he said, ‘yeah, I chose when to quit’ and I want to do the same. As long as my family is fine with it and taken care of, those are the other couple of factors.”

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