Scott Jamieson: Last year at Yas Links was a good week and close to a great one
The Florida-based Scot opened with a sensational 63 to set the pace and was still leading heading into the final round before a closing 77 left him in a tie for tenth behind Belgian Thomas Pieters.
“Before we came here last year, I was disappointed that we’d left Abu Dhabi Golf Club as I felt I’d learned how to play it and improved every year,” admitted Jamieson of a venue change. “But I had a good week here last year, close to being a great week, so it would be nice to do that again.”
The 39-year-old is among nine Scots teeing up in the first of a Rolex Series double-header, with big Race to Dubai points also set to be up for grabs in next week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
“I opened with nine-under last year in pretty benign conditions,” said Jamieson, who is in his 13th successive season on the DP World Tour. “It’s not a true links-style course as we know it, but the trouble with any links-style course is that if you don’t get any wind, it is going to get eaten up.
“Then, on the flip side, when you had the crazy winds we had on the Friday last year, I think I shot two-over and that was arguably a better score than my nine-under. I definitely think you need a breeze round here to make it interesting.”
The Glaswegian, who won the 2012 Nelson Mandela Championship, started his 2023 campaign with back-to-back top-15 finishes in the South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship last month before spending Christmas at home in Ponte Vedra Beach.
“Every week, you are trying to get yourself up there and it was two solid weeks,” he said of his opening salvos this season. “Both weeks could have finished a little bit better, obviously more so at Leopard Creek (where he shared the lead heading into the final day), but you’ve got to be in contention to win and I’ve just got to keep trying to do that.”
Jamieson is joined at Yas Links by Hero Cup duo Bob MacIntyre and Ewen Ferguson, as well as Richie Ramsay, Connor Syme, David Law, Grant Forrest, Marc Warren and Calum Hill. The latter missed most of last season with a niggling problem, but is hoping to take up where he left open when landing a maiden win in 2021.
Pieters, who won with a ten-under-par total 12 months ago, has former winners Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton among his title rivals on this occasion, as well as LIV Golf posse led by 2020 champion Lee Westwood.
“They definitely remind me that I've won here - my face is on every building,” said a smiling Pieters. “I've never had that before and it's such a strange feeling. But playing the back nine yesterday was kind of special. It was my first Rolex Series, and to kind of relive those shots with my caddie yesterday was very special.”
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