Richie Ramsay cards 66 at British Masters – but relief is the big emotion
Richie Ramsay overcame the horrible experience of seeing a fan require medical attention after he’d hit him on the head with a golf ball to get himself on the leaderboard in the first round of the Betfred British Masters at Hillside.
After bursting out of the blocks with a birdie-eagle-birdie start at the Lancashire course, the Capital-based player carded a six-under-par 66 - the same score he’d closed with on Sunday to finish joint-14th in the Volvo China Open.
The effort left Ramsay just three shots behind the pacesetter, young Englishman Matthew Jordan, and the 35-year-old was relieved to learn that an unfortunate incident at his 13th hole had not been as bad as he first feared.
“I actually hit a guy on four on the tee shot,” said Ramsay, who had started his round at the tenth. “We shouted ‘Fore’, but I hit him on the head and he was down.
“I can’t remember the last time I hit someone, especially not on the head, and I’ve been hit before on the leg and I know how sore it is in the leg.
“There was blood and they took a stretcher out. We were there for about 20 minutes. It’s a bit shocking because, although you can’t do anything about it, you feel pretty responsible because you do hit the shot.
“I was upset. I was a bit like, ‘geez, I hope he’s going to be all right’. But, when he stood up, he started smiling and knew where he was.”
Ramsay, who was praised by the medical team for his handling of the situation, parred his way in to make the best start among ten Scots in the field for the £3 million event being hosted by Tommy Fleetwood.
“I love links golf,” said Ramsay, who produced his best finish in The Open when tying for 22nd next door at Royal Birkdale in 2017. “A big part of it is that it’s what we grew up on and where we feel comfortable. “Last week in Szechen the ball sits up and goes miles. But off links turf it spins a bit more and won’t go as far, we’re probably talking 15-20 yards.”
Playing in the same group as Fleetwood, Stephen Gallacher had to settle for a 73, which was matched by Grant Forrest.