Richie Ramsay sets sights on Open spot after 'finding something to run with'

Justin Thomas sets pace in Genesis Scottish Open after blistering 62 in East Lothian

Edinburgh-based Richie Ramsay found “something I can run with” on the eve of the Genesis Scottish Open and is hoping it takes him all the way to Troon next week.

The 41-year-old opened with a two-under-par 68 at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, where American ace Justin Thomas set the pace with a blistering 62.

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The effort left Ramsay sitting just inside the 60 at the end of a low-scoring day in fairly benign conditions, especially for the afternoon starters.

Richie Ramsay plays his second shot on the third hole during day one of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.Richie Ramsay plays his second shot on the third hole during day one of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Richie Ramsay plays his second shot on the third hole during day one of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Three spots are up for grabs in next week’s 152nd Open on the Ayrshire coast and Ramsay is well aware that more than half the field in this week’s $9 million Rolex Series event are already exempt for the season’s final major.

“I was all over the place after Germany last week and was struggling a bit,” admitted Ramsay, a four-time DP World Tour winner.

“But we got working a bit on the range and then on Wednesday I found something which was similar to what I had in Switzerland last year and just kind of ground it out.

“It was just a little move in the shoulders and the range session I had on Wednesday was unbelievable, one of the best I’ve had. I could flight it, strike it, do exactly what I wanted to do. I took that confidence into today.

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“I know where I am in my career and I’m up against guys who have 180 mph ball speed. It’s tough. But I played my own game today and stuck in there. I relish that challenge though. I feel like when you play with these players you get pulled up to their standard.

I used to go the Scottish Open at Gleneagles to watch. This feels like a really big event. It’s where you want to be.”

Ramsay made his eighth appearance in The Open at Hoylake last year and said of those spots: “It’s a huge carrot that’s dangling in front of us. If I can just get in a position there there’s no reason why I can’t grab one and then run with it. If you can grab it then your confidence grows because you know your game is good. “

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“That’s exactly where you want to be going into an Open week. Troon is a course I know and with the way I think it’ll be set up, they’ve had rain and sun, the rough will be up so you’ll have to drive it well.

“I played Hoylake last year and I played Troon in 2016 having got in through the Scottish Open. I remember I got there on the Tuesday and felt terrible. I was in bed all day and was throwing up. I teed up without playing any holes and missed the cut by one. It would be good to go back.

“It’s a great incentive. I’m just glad I’ve got something today and I feel I can compete again. I was deflated after Germany. You feel you can take punches but as you get older you’re maybe not as resilient. The way I was striking it today, though, was like night and day.”

Pencaitland-based Grant Forrest recovered from being two over early on to sign for a 67, matching a morning effort from Bob MacIntyre, last year’s runner up.

Playing in the same group at MacIntyre, defending champion Rory McIlroy is already lurking ominously after his 65, but, wearing tartan trousers, Thomas is the man to catch heading into the second day after a bogey-free effort.

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