LOTHIANS-BASED Richie Ramsay is hoping to muscle his way back into the European Tour winner’s enclosure next season.
The 30-year-old headed into today’s third round of the Turkish Airlines Open sitting joint-32nd on five-under after opening efforts of 70 and 69 on the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course.
It left him needing two low scores over the weekend in his bid to climb from 72nd into the top 60 on the money-list and secure a spot in next week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
But the two-time European Tour winner already has one eye on next season and believes he’s seeing signs that a change to his fitness regime is ready to pay off.
He’s spending a bit more time in the gym at the moment due to a niggling neck injury that has led to him having to cut down a bit on hitting balls.
But a combination of the two has delivered encouraging signs for Ramsay in his first appearance since the Portugal Masters a month ago.
“The stuff I’m doing in the gym now is a bit more precise, so I’m getting more out of it,” reported the former US Amateur champion after a flawless second round on the Mediterranean coast. “My swing also feels really good, having spent the last couple of weeks working on as much as I could.
“I’ve got a new driver and 3-wood in the bag and they both feel as though they are going further.
“But the biggest difference is in my short irons, as 50 per cent of the time I could easily have hit the flag with them.
“The neck problems is still an issue, but it is getting better.
“And, if I can get another five or six weeks doing the gym work I’ve been doing the last two-and-a-half weeks, then I’m going to be in really good shape.
“I’m going over to the US for a month to practice rather than going down to South Africa for the events coming up there and I feel that I will be in a position where I can turn up in Abu Dhabi in January [for the HSBC Championship] with a chance to win.”
On his hopes of making next week’s final event, he added: “I need to finish really high, but it’s not a pressure-packed week for me.”
Stephen Gallacher, pictured left, was also sitting on five-under at the halfway stage after failing to take advantage of the five par-5s on the Colin Montgomerie-designed layout.
“I’m one-over for them and that’s a bit disappointing,” admitted the Dubai Desert Classic champion after a second-round 71.
It included a bogey-6 at the 11th, where he failed to carry a giant waste bunker then didn’t reach the green with his next shot from 30 yards.
“I maybe should have laid up, but I just need to play the par-5s better over the next two days,” he added.
An exciting weekend was in store after Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson, fourth-placed Ian Poulter and world No 1 Tiger Woods all moved into contention at the halfway stage.
Woods, who is being paid £1.5 million to appear in the first European Tour event in Turkey, carded a course-record nine-under 63 in his second round.
It moved him to 11-under – one behind Stenson and Poulter as well as Frenchman Victor Dubisson and South African Justin Walters.
“It’s a good round, but it could have been a special one as I missed four putts inside ten feet,” said Woods.
“It is so bunched and 20-under or less is probably going to win, but I’m right there.”
Former Dunbar assistant David Drysdale was lying joint-56th after rounds of 70 and 73.