Scott Jamieson one off lead in Spain as Connor Syme makes third cut
Helped by an albatross-2 at the 11th, Joost Luiten, last year’s runner-up, leads at the halfway stage on the Costa del Sol on six-under, but the Dutchman has Jamieson, tournament host Sergio Garcia and Robert Rock all breathing down his neck.
Jamieson, who won the weather-shortened Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa in 2013, signed for five birdies, including three in four holes from the fifth, on what is widely regarded as one of the toughest tests on the European circuit.
That haul helped the 33-year-old card a three-under-par 68, which was bettered by just Jamie Donaldson as the 2014 Ryder Cup match-winner at Gleneagles boosted his bid to hang on to his card in the final regular event of the campaign.
Jamieson took it right to the wire last season before retaining his playing privileges, finishing 107th on the money-list. Helped by a strong opening half to the current campaign, tying for fourth in Alfred Dunhill Championship at start of season then third in Hero Indian Open in March, his card for next season has already been wrapped up.
Sitting 80th in the Race to Dubai, his season will finish this weekend, though, if he doesn’t climb a few spots as just 75 places are on offer in the opening event of the Final Series, the Turkish Airlines Open in a fortnight’s time.
“I’m delighted with that,” said Jamieson, who missed the cut in his last two events. “Anything under par around here, most people would sign up for before they tee off and especially in the tricky conditions today with the breeze blowing.
“It just requires so much patience out here. You’re going to hit some good shots that put you in a really tricky spot and then you’ve got to make a decision. There’s a lot of risk-reward, so you can take your medicine and say bogey is the worst I want to make here. It’s about calculating when you want to take the risks or not.”
The Glaswegian added: “Coming into this week I knew I needed a good one to try and get into the final few events – I’m touch and go for the first one in Turkey as it stands – so hopefully a strong weekend and that’ll take care of it.”
Syme has now made the cut in his first three European Tour events, having responded brilliantly to his back being against the wall. After opening with a 75 and having slipped to five-over with three holes to play, the 22-year-old Fifer was two shots below the projected cut before picking up birdies at the 16th and 18th.
It was a repeat of the strong finish he’d made at St Andrews in the third round of the Dunhill Links before going on to finish joint-15th, having already secured a share of 12th spot in the Portugal Masters on his professional debut.
David Law was also on course to make it through to the final two rounds on a rare European Tour outing after starting birdie-birdie to sit on two-under before his day turned into a nightmare. The Aberdonian stumbled to two double-bogeys and three bogeys as he came home in 42 for an 80.
On nine-over, he ended up missing the cut by five shots and was joined in making an early exit by Duncan Stewart (seven-over), Stephen Gallacher (eight-over), Scott Henry (nine-over) and Craig Lee (10-over). Stewart and Henry can no longer hold on to their full cards off the money-list.