Scott Jamieson records top-10 finish in Abu Dhabi after just making cut in Rolex Series event

Scott Jamieson closed with weekend rounds of 67 and 65 to finish joint-eighth at Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Scott Jamieson closed with weekend rounds of 67 and 65 to finish joint-eighth at Abu Dhabi Golf Club
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Scott Jamieson started his tenth successive season on the European Tour with a top-10 finish after staring an early exit from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the face on Friday.

The 36-year-old closed with stunning closing rounds of 67 and 65 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to claim a share of eighth spot in the $7 million Rolex Series event, which was won by England's Lee Westwood.

A closing seven-under effort, which was capped by three birdies to finish, was Jamieson's best score in 24 rounds here since making his debut in the event in 2012 in his second season on the circuit.

It was a brilliant effort from Jamieson, who landed his sole success so far in the Nelson Mandela Championship later that year, considering he'd been outside the halfway cut when he stood at two-over for the tournament with eight holes to play in the second circuit.

“It was a good week’s work and I wish they were all that easy,” said the Florida-based Glaswegian, smiling, after holing a 14-foot birdie putt at the 18th for the last of eight birdies on the final day and 14 in total over the weekend.

“I not only played well today, but I played well all week. Scoring is always a bit tricky when you've not had a scorecard in your hand for a while, having taken eight or nine weeks off after the end of last season, and that’s why I played a bit careful the first two rounds.

“Thursdays and Fridays can be like that in general as you try to get a feel for the golf course, so I was very happy to press on with it over the weekend."

It was his best finish since tying for ninth in the Oman Open just under a year ago, earning him big pay-day as he picked up a cheque for around £115,000 and also confirming he was right to feel his game was starting to trend in the right direction at the end of last season.

“It’s a nice springboard for me in the new season to get such a good result in one of the first events of the new year," added Jamieson, who reckons he is feeling the benefit of having moved to America with his wife, Natalie, and their three young kids, just over two years ago.

“I would like to think I am improving as a golfer as that was the big part of the decision moving to America," he said. "Even on the days when I only go and practice for two hours, I can take the kids with me whereas, if I was back home, practice time is limited and you want to be home with the family.

“Two hours practice in Florida in the middle of December is a much higher quality than if I just went to the range back home in Scotland. I could have gone a month without hitting a putt on a ‘real’ green in Scotland whereas, in the States, I can go off to the golf course and put in two hours practice and it is high-quality practice."

Richie Ramsay was next best among five Scots to make it to the weekend in the UAE, having to settle for a share of 42nd spot on six-under after running up a triple-bogey 7 at the 17th in his closing 73.

"I can't get what happened on 17 out of my head. I'm p***** off about it," declared the 36-year-old Aberdonian. "I was maybe a groove low with my second shot with a 9-iron. I thought it was going to fly far enough, but it pitched in the face of the bunker.

"I took a hit at it and it came out but went back in. The same thing happened again and, after getting out at the third attempt, I two-putted for a 7.

"If the second shot had landed a yard and a half further, it would have kicked on and ended up 10 feet away. I birdied the last after hitting two great shots in there.

"The feeling after doing something like that is pretty demoralising, to be honest. It doesn't matter if you've been out here for one or 12 years. It's a real kick in the teeth, especially when it wasn't from a bad shot."

A closing birdie helped him calm down a bit and he added: "It's a solid start. There are a lot of good things, but it's the same things that are causing me problems. I'm not hitting my short irons close enough, for example, and that's where guys make their score.

"I'm having to scramble. That shot at 17 was seven yards short of where it should be landing, which is a little concerning.

"If I can improve that, then the scoring can take off. If I can be middle of the pack not being on my wedges, once you get those on you can be really good."

David Drysdale (71) finished in joint-55th on four-under, four better than Grant Forrest (73), with David Law ending up on two-over after closing with a second successive 76, having been just four shots off the lead after two rounds.

Westwood, who had a spell living in Edinburgh but is now based in Newcastle, closed with a 67 to finish on 19-under, winning by two shots as he chalked up a 25th European Tour title triumph at the age of 46.
Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez and two-time winner Tommy Fleetwood both signed off with 63s to finish joint-second with Matt Fitzpatrick (67).