Richie Ramsay relishes chance to 'flex biggest muscle' in British Masters
While Richie Ramsay may not be one of the game’s biggest-hitters, the Aberdonian reckons this week’s tough test at The Belfry for the Betfred British Masters on a course playing its full length is right up his street.
“As I have learned from reading about the architecture of courses, the best courses flex your biggest muscle and the biggest muscle is your mind,” said Ramsay as he reflected on a solid opening couple of days at the Sutton Coldfield venue.
Having finished birdie-birdie on Wednesday evening for an opening 70, the 37-year-old then opened his second circuit with back-to-back gains at the 10th and 11th to set up a 71 for a three-under-par total.
In last week’s Canary Islands Championship, the three-time European Tour winner had started with successive 65s to sit just two shots off the lead at the halfway stage before ending up in a tie for 25th in a low-scoring shoot-out.
With players not getting away with wayward tee shots this week due to the rough being on the juicy side, hitting fairways is the key and few players on the circuit are better at that than Ramsay.
“I’ve played really nice the last few weeks and I would say this is more of a test, it suits me. You gain shots more through ball-striking,” he said. “It’s a scorable course if you get your eye in, but, if you don’t, it becomes hard quickly and I think that’s a sign of a good golf course.
“Initially, when you play the course, it doesn’t shoot out at you as being a brilliant course, but the more you play it, the more you learn it does ask questions of you.
“I like these tougher set ups. It’s no surprise that when I play Wentworth, I feel comfortable there and feel as though I could play a course like that every week.
“It asks questions of you coming down the stretch and I feel I have the answers whereas some of the other courses we play don’t ask those questions.”
The 18th on the Brabazon Course here certainly asks questions, first off tee tee then approach into a huge three-tier green.
Ramsay should have made birdie there on both days only to miss from six feet on his second visit, but the quality of the shot that set up the chance is making him feel quietly confident heading into the closing two rounds.
“I think yesterday, dispersion-wise, was one of the best driving rounds I’ve had maybe in the last two years,” said the Edinburgh-based player. “I would say to Guy (Tilston, his caddie) I’m hitting it on that tree with a three-yard cut and that’s exactly what I did. That sort of thing let’s my game flow as it provides a solid foundation.
“I also made some equipment changes, including a new shaft on my 3-wood, which made a massive difference, while I’ve been working hard on my putting and reading the greens. I feel I am starting the ball on line and reading the lines pretty well.
“If I went on to compete over the weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised. But I’m just trying to stay patient at the moment. Hopefully I can get in the mix and do better than last week.”