Scott Jamieson stepping out of the ‘abyss’ to join golf’s elite

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SCOTT Jamieson has come out of the “abyss” to join the world’s elite, even though he missed out on the biggest win of his career here. The Glaswegian enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning the Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play Championship in 2001 before going on to represent his country in the 2006 Eisenhower Trophy along with Richie Ramsay and George Murray.

His professional career, however, got off to a sluggish start. He made three unsuccessful attempts at the European Tour Qualifying School, failing to reach the final stage on each occasion. That left him having to cut his teeth as a professional on the third-tier PGA EuroPro Tour, where he won twice on his way to earning a step up to the Challenge Tour.

“In my first two years as a pro I was in the abyss,” he said. “I was slumming it in the lower leagues, but I guess that helps you build your character. I was fortunate enough to keep playing at a time when money was not necessarily being chucked at me.”

Even as recently as little over two years ago, the man who grew up in a golfing sense at Cathkin Braes was still “plodding along” on the Challenge Tour. It was a second-place finish in the Kazakhstan Open, the second-tier circuit’s ‘major’, that proved the catalyst for his upturn in fortunes.

“That lifted me from about 70th in the rankings to just outside the top 20 and then I had a strong finish to the season. That was definitely a huge turning point,” he recalled.

As far as his career was concerned, so, too, was Jamieson’s decision to start working with Alan McCloskey, the PGA professional at Bothwell Castle, around 2007. “When I went to Alan, he told me on day one that the only part of my game that was good enough for me to play professional golf was my bunker play,” revealed Jamieson, laughing at that frank assessment.

“It was a bit alarming at the time but maybe that’s what I needed to hear. I had turned pro after being one of the country’s best amateurs in Scotland probably thinking it would just be a case of working my way up the ladder.”

McCloskey has helped Jamieson achieve the high ball flight needed to get the ball close to the hole on Tour-style courses. “When you’re playing links courses in Scotland, guys flight it low and they chip it around the windy links courses,” said Jamieson. “When you get out here, you have to be able to stop it on the green with long irons.”

For the first half of last season, the Scot wasn’t hitting the ball particularly well. He admits that it wasn’t until the Austrian Open at the end of July that he started to find form. “I found something in my swing that week. Ever since I’ve been a lot more comfortable with my driver and, as a result, I’ve been hitting a lot more fairways.”

Jamieson insisted he had “nothing to prove” due to the fact his breakthrough win had been achieved in an event that effectively became a sprint and came on a course that was significantly reduced in length due to bad weather.

“Having gone through the play-off experience to win the Nelson Mandela meant, I still had to win as opposed to just being the leading player on the board,” he said. “So, I don’t care if anyone’s got a problem saying that winning over two rounds wasn’t a real win – that doesn’t bother me. Let those saying that come out here and try and win on the European Tour.”