LOTHIANS-BASED golfer Richie Ramsay branded his finish as “useless” after taking the shine off a good day’s work in the Dunhill Links Championship at Kingsbarns.
Ramsay, who is attached to The Renaissance Club, had the first-round leaders in his sights after negotiating 17 holes without putting a foot wrong.
But a last-hole double-bogey 6 left him having to settle for a three-under 69 on a day when five players signed for 64s across the three venues used for the £3.1 million pro-am event.
“It was useless,” said Ramsay of his finish. “I never looked as though I was out of position until then and everything was just easy.
“Unfortunately, I hit the wrong shot at the last, but then hit a good first putt to four feet.
“I also thought I’d hit a good second putt but, about halfway to the hole, it seemed to hit a little pitchmark and just went straight left.
“I missed the next one to take a 6. It was incredibly poor to finish that way as it’s the easiest three-under you’ll ever have around that course.
“There were a lot of positives, but at the moment I can’t see past that miss.”
It left Ramsay sitting in a tie for 47th as English trio Oliver Wilson, Tom Lewis and Richard McEvoy set the pace along with Chile’s Mark Tullo and Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka.
But, in the team event, he was joint-fourth in tandem with entrepreneur Rob Hersov after they dovetailed nicely to card an 11-under 61. “Rob played good all day and we mixed it up,” said Ramsay of the eight-handicapper.
“Every time I made birdie, he would make a par. And every time he would make a birdie, I would make a par, so it was quite good. I’m quite solid, so he can just go for his shots.”
Cockburnspath’s David Drysdale also opened with a 69, in his case at St Andrews, where Fifer George Murray shot a 65 to sit joint-sixth on a packed leaderboard. Two years ago Murray finished third in his local event but he’s back on the Challenge Tour this season and needed a late invitation to secure a rare 2013 appearance on the main circuit.
“I think it is my best round on the Old Course,” admitted the 30-year-old, who won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Gullane and came through the qualifier at North Berwick to play in this year’s Open at Muirfield.
“I’ve not been playing well this season but even one good round like this is a confidence boost for when I go back to the Challenge Tour in a couple of weeks.”
On having to drop back to the second-tier circuit after coming so close to winning one of the European Tour’s biggest events, he added: “You can let yourself be demoralised by the difference in purses between the main Tour and the Challenge Tour.
“You’d be dead before you started if you did that. You just have to man up and beat whoever is in front of you in any given event. In truth, it’s more about playing the course than the people in the field.”
One person having to lift himself heading into his second round today was Stephen Gallacher. It followed the Lothians star slumping to a six-over-par 78 at Carnoustie in his first outing since securing a place in next week’s Seve Trophy.
Admittedly, it came at the toughest of the three courses but, lying joint-162nd, Gallacher had a fight on his hands to make Sunday’s final round in an event he won nine years ago and, just 12 months ago, finished fifth. He was playing Kingsbarns today.